UP cabinet minister pads up for a noble cause, adopts TB patient
Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel’s call to help eradicate tuberculosis (TB) has found backing from ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government and functionaries of the ruling BJP even...
Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel’s call to help eradicate tuberculosis (TB) has found backing from ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government and functionaries of the ruling BJP even as the state’s health department on Monday launched a 12-day door-to-door active case finding (ACF) campaign in the state, which has the highest number of TB patients across the country.
Former India cricketer Chetan Chauhan, now a cabinet minister in Yogi Adityanath government, announced on Monday that he would take responsibility of a 9-year old kid suffering from TB as state’s health minister Jai Pratap Singh, along with ruling BJP lawmaker Vijay Bahadur Pathak, also indicated similar plans.
“I have taken responsibility of a TB affected child and have told officials that I would be willing to take care of more. I have also asked officials to join in,” said Chauhan, who is the minister for sainik welfare, home guards, PRD and civil security.
“Taking responsibility of a TB patient basically means that the patient’s medication and nutritional needs are attended to between 6 and 9 months of treatment. Regular and proper medication along with a healthy diet is the key to treatment.The cause is noble and we expect more support,” health minister Jai Pratap Singh said. The state’s health department is also providing ₹500 per month directly into the account of patients; the amount basically intended to ensure that the patients take a nutritious diet at least during the period of their treatment.
Anandiben Patel was the first to push the government to action by announcing adoption of a TB affected child in August. Her staff at the Raj Bhawan had followed suit by adopting 21 other patients, a move that the governor said was in sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to eradicate TB from the country by 2025.
UP health department officials admit that the goal won’t be met until the situation in the state improves. UP accounts for 5.75 lakh TB patients – 14,600 of whom in Lucknow alone - for whom early detection, timely and regular medication is the key. Without regular medication, the disease becomes multi-drug resistant. According to WHO’s Global TB Report (2018), India accounts for 24 per cent of the global multi-drug resistant cases (MDR), the reason why the UP health department’s active case finding drive, to last till February 29, assumes additional focus.
“I will not only adopt a TB patient but also encourage others to do so. We would do our best to spread the initiative so that the disease could be eradicated once and for all,” said Vijay Bahadur Pathak, MLC and BJP general secretary.
“It’s true that in many rural parts of the state there is a taboo associated with the disease which is why many don’t report the disease or leave the treatment midway, both situations which could prove fatal to the patients,” a health department official said adding that the ongoing ACF campaign is aimed at checking that.
If the MDR cases go undetected, the patient’s condition could further degenerate into extensive drug resistant TB (XDR-TB) and then at that stage not only the treatment gets costlier but the patient’s life is at risk too, said the health minister, who is likely to take responsibility of at least one such patient in Siddharth Nagar, his assembly constituency. Patients or people are also encouraged to report cases at the national toll free number 1800116666.
“We are providing all the district hospitals in the state with CB-NAAT machine, most have it and the few that don’t have it still would get them very soon,” an official said. The CB-NAAT machine offers the most definitive test for TB.