Quick TB Services for Quake Affected

Numerous people have been taking shelter at Tundikhel after the massive earthquake occurred on April 25, leaving people homeless. Around 20 people are found residing under one tent which has been increasing the risk of various diseases. The risk of transmission of tuberculosis (TB) is also higher in overcrowded places. The symptoms of TB includes cough more than two weeks, chest pain, coughing blood or sputum, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, chills, fever and sweating.

The TB REACH project team conducted TB screening programme in Tundikhel on May 19 and 20. TB REACH project is an innovative active case finding project using GeneXpert technology implemented by Health Research and Social Development Forum (HERD) with the support of Stop TB Partnership

Initial Preparation

With the increasing risk of TB, in order to provide free facility to the people residing at Tundikhel, the TB REACH team of HERD made a request to Nepal Army who has been handling the relief work there. In coordination with Nepal Army, outreach workers of HERD conducted TB screening and collected sputum sample of those who showed symptoms of tuberculosis.

Mr. Shyam Lal Kandel, Project Coordinator of TB REACH project shared, “A large number of people had gathered in Tundikhel – an open ground at the heart of Kathmandu where most public events are held. Being knowledgeable about the public health hazards with the spread of communicable diseases due to the overcrowding, sanitation and settlement in open spaces, we came up with this plan of conducting the TB screening camp.”

TB Screening

Around 200 people were screened for tuberculosis and 35 sputum samples were collected. The collected sputum sample was put under test in the advanced HERD laboratory with GeneXpert technology. No positive cases were found. The test result will be handed to the tested person. Depending on the result if the test is positive, the patient will be counselled and referred to the DOTS centre for treatment management. Those tested negative will be suggested to consult the medical team at Tundikhel.

"I have been suffering from coughing continuously. I have not being able to go for check up. The hospitals are so overcrowded. Therefore, I seek your help." An elderly talking to one of HERD's outreach workers.

Preparation for another TB Camp

A similar TB screening camp will be conducted on May 25 upon the request made by the Nepal Army working in Tundikhel. More than 100 Nepali Army officials are expected to be screened.

Mr. Kandel hopes that the screening camp will improve the level of awareness among the public about the necessity of hygiene maintenance and to protect themselves from communicable diseases such as tuberculosis.

HERD has been conducting mobile screening camps in the urban settlements in 29 districts of 22 municipalities of Nepal since the last one and half year. The targeted groups within the urban settlements are: slum dwellers, People Living with HIV (PLHIV), household contacts, factory workers, refugees/monasteries, prisoners and diabetic patients. These target groups are identified as high risk group for TB. Currently mobile van screening camp is ongoing in Parsa district and will be carried out in Bara and Rautahat districts.


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