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The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in collaboration with, Central TB Division has initiated a nation-wide survey to find the prevalence of Pulmonary TB at the state level. On Wednesday, a dedicated state-of-the-art van is flagged off from Pune, to carry out the survey in Maharashtra. After many years such a survey for the nationwide prevalence of TB will be carried out.

Due to a lack of a reliable estimate of TB burden at the national as well as the state level, the government is unable to make targeted preventive and treatment strategies. To address this gap, ICMR, in collaboration with, Central TB Division, launched this survey. The National Institute for Research in TB (ICMR), Chennai, is the nodal and coordinating institute for implementation of this survey.

Dr Padmaja Jogewar, State TB Officer, Pune, said, “India aims to eliminate the disease by 2025. If the prevalence of TB is known, we can formulate our policies accordingly and can work towards eliminating it. We have started with the survey in Maharashtra and have identified 56 clusters for the survey.”

Anita Kale, State Information Education, and Communication (IEC) Officer, Pune, said, “The survey will be implemented using mobile X-Ray unit fitted in a van with CBNAAT machines. The van will be used to screen nearly five lakh people in 625 districts across the country. These are special vans with the latest technology. Quick result will be delivered and if the person is found positive, he or she will be directed for the treatment immediately.”

According to the booklet issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, such a national wide survey was carried out in 1955. Since then, this will the first such survey to estimate the prevalence of TB.

Dr Sarita Mane, a pulmonologist from Pune, said, “All private practitioners are supposed to notify TB cases with the government. But still, many practitioners are not doing it. In that case, we are not informed about the incidence of TB in our country. Such a survey would be of immense help for policymakers as it will give us the incidence of TB.”

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