Scheme to screen all Children for Leprosy and TB

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has rolled out a programme for universal screening of children below 18 years for leprosy and tuberculosis (TB).

About the Scheme

  • Under the scheme, an estimated 25 crore children and adolescents will be screened annually for leprosy and TB and put on treatment if required.
  • The Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) Mobile Health teams will screen children of 0-6 years at Anganwadis and children of 6-18 years enrolled in government and government-aided schools.
  • The screening is aimed at early detection of TB and Leprosy to cover the four Ds — defects at birth, deficiencies, diseases, development delays, including disability.

The government has envisioned leprosy eradication as one of the tributes to Mahatma Gandhi as the nation observes his 150th birth anniversary. The scheme is part of such endeavour of government.

Leprosy

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. Leprosy is known to occur at all ages ranging from early infancy to very old age.

India had eliminated leprosy in 2005 (WHO defines elimination as an incidence rate of less than one case per 10,000 population). still 1.15-1.2 lakh new leprosy cases detected every year.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a type of bacterium called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis.

India has the highest TB burden in the world. TB kills an estimated 4.8 lakh Indians every year and more than 1,400 every day. Estimates also suggest that there are more than a million ‘missing’ cases every year that are not notified. Mostly such cases remain either undiagnosed or unaccountable and inadequately diagnosed and treated in the private sector.

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