Imphal: State TB Officer Dr Shashi Waikhom stressed on the role of media to end tuberculosis in the State, contending that media is instrumental in eradicating social stigma by spreading public awareness on TB.
He was speaking at the media Sensitisation Program on TB Elimination Program, Manipur organised by State TB Cell on the theme ‘Role of Media to End TB by 2031’ at STDC Hall, RD Wing Lamphelpat on Thursday.
He stated that the training has been given to experts in order to spread the knowledge of TB so that the public will voluntarily come for TB treatment. He said that WHO has aimed at elimination of TB by 2030 however, the PM of India has aimed to remove TB by 2025 and even launched TB Mukt Bharat.
He said that under these programs NI-KSHAY Mitra, who may be any MLA or Minister, community or any person who volunteer to provide monthly food package of around Rs 2000 containing supplementary nutrients, under the guidelines and provisions for TB patients who are must to be in good health. Stating that the state has a total of 78 NI-KSHAY Mitra among which 38 are elected members, he appealed to the people to come out more to be NI-KSHAY Mitra.
Dr Shashi elaborated that TB is curable and media has helped in removing social stigma among the people. He said that TPT (TB Preventive Program) a program has been first launched in Bishenpur to verify the family members in contact with patients and identify them for signs and symptoms and give prior medication for prevention. He also mentioned that the program will be launched in Imphal West at the earliest.
He noted that Imphal West has the highest number of active TB case 1292 ongoing treatment and Noney with the least number. He stated that CHO(Community Health Officer) will be launched on March 24 under the new program which will conduct house to house survey for active case finding. The CHO program will continue for 21 days.
Shashi stressed on the challenges faced by the department on successful implementation of the program and stated that there is lack of community involvement. He said that the aim of the department is to reduce active cases in the state to only 33 number pers lakh population by 2025 and appealed to the people to support and participate in elimination of TB from the state.
He reiterated that the signs and symptoms of a normal person for TB include cough for more than two
weeks, chills continuously at the same time for more than two weeks, unexplained weight loss and
coughing of blood.
He appealed to the people to get tested at health centres if any of these signs and symptoms persist for
treatment. He said that there are a total of 56 treatment centres in the state however only 48 are functioning. He stated that for people with HIV/AIDS must get tested once they start coughing without delay.
President of All Manipur Working Journalists Union, Wangkhemcha Shamjai stated that there is need
to organise more such programs as there is a gap between media and the department. He said that if the
media has full knowledge and awareness of TB, it will be easier to spread the awareness to the public
whether it may be signs and symptoms, treatment, social stigma or challenges of any form.