Harsh Vardhan asks Maharashtra govt to conduct active TB survey along with house-to-house Covid-19 survey

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Harsh Vardhan (File photo)

NEW DELHI: Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has directed the Maharashtra government to ensure active tuberculosis survey along with the house-to-house surveys being conducted for Covid-19.
During a high-level meeting with Maharashtra government to review Covid-19 affected districts in the states, Vardhan advised the state government to ensure focus on essential reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCHA+N) services with special care for pregnant women along with services like blood collection/transfusion, chemotherapy, dialysis.
While 36 districts are affected in the state, the health minister reviewed Covid-19 management with districts of Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nashik, Palghar, Nagpur and Aurangabad among others through video conferencing.
Dr Vardhan said, "The state must ensure that essential services for TB diagnosis and management do not suffer as these patients are very much prone to the Covid-19 infection. Active survey for TB cases should be done along with the house to house surveys being conducted for Covid-19." Strict action was to be taken to ensure the prohibition of spitting in public places to control the spread. Adequate measures for prevention of vector-borne diseases also need to be taken, they were advised.
In delivering these services, the state officials were asked to utilise the network of more than 3,775 centres Ayushman Bharat- Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs) which are functional across the state.
The state government has been advised to engage volunteers for doorstep delivery and telemedicine/tele- consultation for OPD Services. They were asked to ensure timely payment of salary/incentives for the health workers or employing temporary human resource along with adequate stocks of essential medicines.
Dr SK Singh, Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) made a presentation on Covid-19 status in Maharashtra, highlighting the districts that were showing a higher number of active cases, fatality rate, confirmation rate, doubling time and low testing rate.
"There is a need of availability of the health infrastructure and districts that need attention against the backdrop of high confirmation rates and case fatality rates," Singh informed.
While speaking on the current scenario of Covid-19 in Maharashtra, Dr Vardhan said, "Increase in the number of containment zones needs immediate attention. Vulnerability mapping of densely populated areas should be done for an effective containment strategy to be put in place. Also, the rise in case fatality rate should be looked into along with tests done per million population."
"Strengthen the system of ICU, ventilators and testing labs in Maharashtra and ensure its availability and quality healthcare services for all forthcoming patients," he said.
Vardhan said that until there is a final vaccine for Covid19, people should be vigilant and they should adopt good hygiene practices for the eradication of Covid-19.
He also told the state officials that the testing labs should ensure prompt delivery of reports of Covid-19 tests to help in the timely detection and management of Covid-19 patients.
The Centre has ramped up testing capacity through a network of 602 government labs and 235 private labs (total 837 labs). About 52,13,140 Covid-19 samples have been tested till date and 1,51,808 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.

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