SIVASAGAR, Aug 19 - A flagship component of National Health Mission, National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP) is being undertaken vigorously in Sivasagar district. During the lockdown period, health care workers administered drugs and medicines, distributed sputum collection cups among the suspects and did the data entry in Assam Community Surveillance Project focused on COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.
According to Health department sources here, NTEP identified 320 TB patients during January to March 2019, of which two were drug resistant which increased to 593 (drug resistant 23) in April-July period. In January-March this year, the figure was found to be 349 (drug resistant 9) while in April-July it was 387 (drug resistant 15).
In Sivasagar district, tea garden areas are more infected with TB apparently due to poverty and poor living conditions. Absence of a proper health care system in the TEs that the patients can approach easily and unhygienic conditions, congested living in the labourers� lines aids the spread of the disease. But the government Health department has virtually relieved the TE managements by taking over the entire health sector and the tea garden labourers are now been given all the basic health care facilities directly. It is due to consistent effort of the government health care system and mass awareness campaigns in the tea gardens that the prevalence of communicable diseases like TB has come down a little.
However, in other areas also TB is still a killer disease. Young carpenter Mahendra Khanikar (29) of Charing, on being asked how did he contact the disease said he did not have any idea. Like him in most cases, it is excess physical work without having proper nutritious food and rest that the labouring community gets the disease in the rural areas. Khanikar said he was thankful to the District TB Control agency for providing him free medicines and necessary counseling and he is improving fast.