A total of 9,971 people in India were found to be positive for tuberculosis during the 100-day door-to-door Aashwasan Campaign under the Tribal TB Initiative conducted across 68,019 villages in tribal districts of the country, official sources said.
The Tribal TB Initiative is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Central TB Division, Ministry of Health, supported by USAID as technical partner and Piramal Swasthya as implementing partner.
During the door-to-door campaign, 1,03,07,200 persons were screened verbally and 3,82,811 people of them were identified for Presumptive TB. Of these, 2,79,329 (73%) samples were tested for TB and a total of 9,971 people were found to be positive for tuberculosis, the Health Ministry said at a national conclave held in New Delhi on August 24.
The national conclave was organised at the National Tribal Research Institute (NTRI), New Delhi, where the Union ministries of Tribal Affairs and Health briefed about the 100-day Aashwasan Campaign. The campaign started on January 7, 2022 for active case finding for TB in 174 tribal districts of India, under the ambit of the Tribal TB Initiative. It was flagged off in Nandurbar District, Maharashtra.
“The Aashwasan Campaign brought together about 2 lakh community influencers who wholeheartedly participated to make the campaign successful. These include tribal leaders, tribal healers, PRI members, SHGs and youth in the tribal areas- who were part of this campaign in the screening process and community awareness,” Dr Navaljit Kapoor, Joint Secretary, MoTA stated at the event.
Dr Kapoor said that data indicates that the tribal communities are more vulnerable to respiratory diseases and TB, compared to other population groups.
He asked all State Health departments to conduct Infrastructural gap analysis and seek funds from MoHFW and Ministry of Tribal Affairs through concerned Tribal Welfare Department of the state.
Those found positive for TB during the Aashwasan Campaign have been put on treatment as per GoI protocols, the ministry stated.
Meanwhile, Vivekanand Giri, DDG Central TB division, presented the Tribal TB Initiative of CTD.
With the data which has emerged through the Aashwasan Campaign, CTD will map TB hotspots and use that as the starting point to work together with the tribal communities to address the issue, Dr Raghuram Rao, ADG said.
Speaking on the occasion, Sangita Patel, Director- Health, USAID India, said: “It’s incredible when you think about what has been achieved with over 2200 members working at the community level. To think you were able to reach 10 million people, and from there actually identify 10,000 TB patients. I am heartened to see the commitment to go for 75 TB free tribal districts, but also to not leave behind the other tribal districts.”