The Karnataka government on Tuesday launched a special two-week drive to test patients who recovered from COVID-19 and their family members for TB.
Health Minister Dr Sudhakar K who was speaking at Vidhana Soudha during the launch urged recovered patients and their family members to voluntarily get evaluated for TB. The drive will be held across the state from August 16 to August 31. “We have initiated a special drive to evaluate post-Covid complications in people who have recovered from COVID-19 infection. There are more than 28 lakh people in the state who have recovered from the infection. Since both COVID-19 and TB infect the lungs we have launched this special drive to ensure early detection of TB in people who have recovered from COVID-19,” Dr Sudhakar told reporters. “If it is detected at an early stage, treatment will become easier,” he added.
The drive also comes as existing TB surveillance measures were inadvertently neglected due to the onslaught of the devastating first two waves of the pandemic. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), while COVID-19 infection among TB patients remains limited, it is anticipated that people with both TB and COVID-19 may have poorer treatment outcomes, especially if TB treatment is interrupted. Further, they said health services, including national programmes to combat TB, need to be actively engaged in ensuring an effective and rapid response to COVID-19 while ensuring that TB services are maintained.
Karnataka State health department officials said since 2017, 75 lakh suspected cases have been identified and 88% of them have been tested. About 3.9% have been detected with TB. Due to the pandemic, the TB evaluation drives have been slightly hit. Sudhakar added, “Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi ji has laid a vision to make India free from TB by 2025 and our state government is working towards this goal.”
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