With the setting up of advanced TB (tuberculosis) diagnosis equipment in as many as 18 government community health centres in Chittoor district, first of its kind in Andhra Pradesh, the district TB administration staff members are gearing up to intensify the diagnosis drive touching every nook and corner of the rural side.

The equipment, meant for diagnosis of TB sensitivity and drug resistance, till three months ago was present only at the district headquarters hospital. This made patients for regular check-up, and new cases come all the way to Chittoor or Tirupati, from as far as Satyavedu, Puttur, Nagari, and Varadaiahpalem in the eastern mandals. They used to visit the government hospitals for sputum test, and the collected samples would be sent to Chittoor through courier. The process of diagnosis and publishing reports and commencement of treatment to patients used to take a couple of weeks time. In the meantime, the process would be nothing but giving a harrowing time to the patients by way of travelling, lodging and boarding.

Latest figure

The latest figure of TB cases in the district from January till mid October is 4,800 cases, which is considered alarming in the medical terms. Since five years, there has been no respite in the number of cases being detected in the district. In 2013, the number of cases stood at 4,200, followed by 4,980 in 2014; 5600 in 2015 and 6800 cases in 2016. This year the number of drug resistance cases alone was 118.

District TB officer B. Ramesh Babu has told
The Hindu
that at present, the RTPPR machines (for tests of drug sensitivity and resistance) are set up in Puttur, Nagari, Satyavedu, Varadaiahpalem and Srikalahasti, thus covering all the mandals in the eastern region. Detection of new cases would be done in just two hours, and the treatment too would be started immediately.

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