Health ministry to tweak TB campaign


New Delhi : The ministry of health and family welfare is all set to re-position its media and public awareness campaign for the control of tuberculosis (TB), an official said here Wednesday.

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“The direct observed treatment (DOTS) programme for TB will now focus on completing the course of medication that goes on for six months,” Ashok Kumar, deputy director general of the central TB division, said at the Resource group for Education and Advocacy for Community Health (REACH)-Lilly awards function for excellence in TB reporting.

“Earlier, the DOTS was mainly popularised for providing cure for TB,” he added.

Over three million people die every year in India due to TB.

“Under the revised national TB control programme, we want to make sure that we minimise the number of patients who reach fatal multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB stage,” Kumar said in the run-up to the World TB Day Thursday.

Under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) that came over a decade ago in the country, TB patients are given the six-month long DOTS treatment where the patient is given seven tablets a day on every alternate day in a week.

The experts emphasised the role of local and national media on creating awareness about the disease.

“Early diagnosis of the disease is very crucial,” said Nalini Krishnan, director of REACH, a voluntary organisation that works on creating awareness on TB and community health.

“Media can help reduce the social stigma and mental burden associated with TB in India,” he added.