With a goal to free Haryana of tuberculosis (TB), two mobile vans fitted with digital chest X-ray machines and other equipment were launched here on Friday. The scheme looks to actively find TB cases in Rewari, Gurgaon, Mewat, Palwal and Jhajjar districts of Haryana.
The private initiative, undertaken by Medanta – The Medicity hospital, was launched in collaboration with the Government of Haryana, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and the Central TB Division of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (Government of India). Five districts will be covered in the first phase of the project.
U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard R. Verma, actor Amitabh Bachchan, Chairman and Managing Director of Medanta and noted cardiac surgeon Naresh Trehan, and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar were present at the launch of the mobile vans. Many politicians, bureaucrats and celebrities were among those who attended the event.
Stressing on the need to improve case findings for TB, Dr. Trehan said: “About 50 per cent of patients with pulmonary TB go undetected in India. The rise of the drug-resistant strain has made the situation even worse. Social stigma, lack of awareness and inadequate medical facilities further aggravate the problem.”
Emphasising on the need for a multi-sector approach to fight and eradicate TB, the U.S. Ambassador said that he hoped the vans would help to improve the detection rate of TB.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Bachchan said: “As a TB survivor, I can assure you that this is a disease that can be fought against and won over. Each one of us has the responsibility to make India TB-free.”
“The mobile vans represent a good endeavour to improve case detections and rid the State of this disease. As was the case with polio, we hope that this initiative will help confine TB to history, which is where it belongs,” said Mr. Khattar.
The mobile vans, which can screen up to 50 people a day, are equipped with X-ray machines that can diagnose suspected patients almost immediately after they have been screened. The district TB doctors will then confirm the results and refer the patients for GeneXpert testing. If the diagnosis is confirmed, patients will be counselled to start treatment at the nearest Primary Health Centre. The vans will visit districts on a weekly basis.