Budgam is India’s only TB-free district
J&K's central Kashmir district of Budgam is the only district in India that has achieved 80 percent reduction in cases of Tuberculosis, an accomplishment that is being awarded on the World Tuberculosis Day on Wednesday.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, State TB Officer Dr Rehana Kounsar said that from the baseline data calculated in 2015 Budgam had reduced its TB caseload by 88 percent.
She said that the State TB division had applied for Budgam and Udhampur to Indian Council of Medical Research.
"Thorough ground work was put in for verifying our claim of reducing the cases by over 80 percent," Dr Kounsar said adding that 10 multi-organisational teams that did the task comprised of members from Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM), ICMR and World Health Organisation (WHO).
"Today, we received communication from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GoI that we have achieved the goal and are the only district in the country that has done so," she said.
Nodal officer of the verification team (IAPSM) Dr S Saleem Khan told Greater Kashmir that in the claiming district, 3296 households were covered in the survey that included 17,490 family members. "We tested 209 samples and found only two were positive for TB," he said. "TB score for 2020 was 80.67, the highest in India."
Dr Khan said more districts in J&K were in the process of achieving the target and would apply for assessment this year.
India has set 2025 as the target for eliminating TB across states.
This year (2021) was for the first time when the progress was measured towards achieving this goal.
There are four categories of recognition in achievement of reduction of case targets, the top spot being "TB free" status.
The union territory of Lakshadweep has been declared "TB free" while among the districts, Budgam is the only one to achieve that.
The award entails a monetary award of Rs 10,00,000 and certification.
In Category 2 – Gold Medal category (over 60 percent reduction in cases), Diu district and union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli were being awarded.
In the Silver Medal category (over 40 percent reduction in cases), Lahual-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, Kolhapur of Maharashtra, Parel Ward of Mumbai district (Maharashtra) and West Tripura district of Tripura have featured.
In the Bronze Medal category (over 20 percent reduction in cases), state of Kerala and union territory of Puducherry are being awarded.
In addition Udhampur district is among the 29 districts in India that has achieved the goal.
As per the health ministry, "Incentivising and rewarding well-performing states and districts for achieving the target that are within their control and capacity will not only increase motivation to prioritise and undertake implementation of the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP) in elimination mode but also generate a sense of healthy competition."