Union Health Minister declares Lakshadweep and Budgam in J&K as Tuberculosis free region

Only 2 cases of Tuberculosis were detected in 17490 individuals who participated in the survey in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Budgam recording an 80 per cent decline in the number of Tuberculosis cases since 2015, it has become the only district in the country to have been awarded the ‘TB Free Certification’ by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare under the Government of India’s National TB Elimination Program for the year 2020.

Earlier, the Ministry had sought claims from States, districts of the country under the initiative and the district Budgam had also filed a claim under the Bronze category. However, after the verification of the claims by the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Epidemiology (ICMR-NIE), it came to the fore that the district has rather recorded a decline of 80 per cent in the number of TB cases leading to its TB-Free certification.

The claims made were verified by the collaborative institutes and finally, the district was given a TB Free Certification and became the only district in the country-out of 72 that had filed the claims-to have been listed in the ‘TB Free’ category after the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.

As a part of the verification of the claims, a survey, in which 17490 individuals participated along with 3296 households in 10 blocks of the district Budgam, was carried out by 10 teams from National Tuberculosis Elimination Program which were supervised by IAPSM, ICMR, WHO.

“We are going to try for TB elimination certification for all districts of Kashmir division. The National TB elimination program workers braved bad weather, tough terrain and the COVID-19 pandemic to achieve this. We want to focus on TB elimination goal with all our efforts,” State TB Officer, Kashmir Dr Rehana Kausar told Excelsior.

The villages in Budgam that were identified for the survey include, Dehramana, Sumerbugh in Chadoora, Hamchipora in Khag, Charangam in Beerwah, Kawsajagir in Magam, Chertu in Khansahib, Farhad Pora in Chadoora, Telsur in Chrar-e-Sharief, Narawarah in Beerwah and Khosapora in Khansahib. As per details, only 2 cases of Tuberculosis were detected in 17490 individuals who participated in the survey. Also, it has been told that the parameter, ‘Number Needed to Test’ (NNT) has also improved from 13.5% in 2015 to 88.2 in the year 2020.

It is to be noted here that the Government of India has set an ambitious goal of ending tuberculosis (TB) by 2025 and to achieve that the initiative was launched across the country.

As per norms, districts or States which reported a decline of 20 per cent could have filed the claim under the ‘Bronze’ category which comes with a monetary award of Rs 2 lakh, those with a decline of 40 per cent could have filed the claim under ‘Silver’ and those with 60 per cent could have filed their claim for ‘Gold’ and those with 80 per cent were to be conferred with ‘TB Free’ status with a monetary award of Rs 10 lakh as a part of sub-national certification for TB Free district, state.

According to the list of awardees issued here, TB Free status has been given to the UT of Lakshadweep, and J&K’s district Budgam, no State has been able to figure in the Gold category, while as Diu district of UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli & Daman has figured in the category.

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