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SRINAGAR — Anantnag and Pulwama districts have been declared as tuberculosis-free under the sub-national certification for TB elimination in India, officials said here on Tuesday.

State Tuberculosis officer, Dr. Adfar Qadri told the news agency KNO that two more districts – Anantnag and Pulwama have been declared TB-free.

She said Srinagar has got a gold medal while the UT has got bronze and most of the other districts have maintained the status quo. “We now have the distinction of having three districts with TB. Budgam was declared TB-free in 2021,” she said.

She added last year, Kashmir had got three gold medals and now they have got upgraded and Pulwama and Anantnag have been declared TB-free. “TB incidence is declining in Kashmir. We will achieve TB elimination by 2025 as we are doing intensified and active case finding and case screening,” she said.

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She said they had taken several measures over the years to develop infrastructure and employ manpower for the early detection and effective treatment of the disease.

Last year Anantnag, Pulwama and Kupwara got Gold during Sub-National Certification for TB Elimination in the country while Baramulla district had then got the Bronze medal (1 in 56 districts). Budgam was the first district to be declared TB-free.

Notably, there are four categories of recognition in the achievement of reduction of case targets, the top spot being TB-free status meaning an 80% reduction. The other categories include gold medal category (over 60% reduction), silver medal category (over 40% reduction) and bronze medal category (over 20% reduction).

Sub-national certification is an initiative to mark the progress of districts, states and UTs towards TB-free status, which was initiated in 2020 to achieve the target of a TB-free India by 2025. The sub-national certification is a process introduced by the Union Health Ministry in 2021 to reward well-performing States/districts when they achieve specific milestones in TB elimination.

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The Health Ministry has set a target of reducing the incidence of new TB cases by 80% to end TB by 2025 while efforts towards TB elimination vary across States/Districts.

In India, the Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) provides free TB treatment to all government medical facilities through the Directly Observed Treatment Short course Strategy (DOTS) system, recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Under this system, a patient is given an identification card that tracks their site of infection, severity and treatment course and adds them to a national database.

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