KIMS Begins Comprehensive Tribal TB Management Project in Koraput

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Central TB Division (CTD) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have come up with a new project “Comprehensive Tribal TB Management Programme for decentralized TB care services” for tribal-dominated districts of Odisha. One of the centres in Koraput is being headed by Prof. Dr. Sonali Kar from Department of Community Medicine, Kalinga Institute of Medcical Sciences (KIMS) as the principal investigator (PI).

Prof.Dr.Smita Panda from VSS Medical College, Burla, Dr. Aurobindo Samantaray, Associate Professor from SLN Medical College, Koraput, Dr. PK Hota (State TB Officer), Odisha, Dr. Prasanta Kumar Samal, (District TB Officer), Koraput are the Co-PIs in this project. The programme comes as one of the unique efforts which would help achieve our TB elimination target of 2025 and hence is projected for the next two years.

Dr. Manjula Singh, ICMR Scientist-E, ICMR Headquarters, is overall in-charge in leading the unique project, which is conceptualised for 11 tribal districts across the country. TB continues to be a silent killer in India and its diagnostics and management are entirely  borne by the National TB Elimination Program (NTEP).

This project was flagged off pan-India in February 2023, with probationary recruitment of the four team members as per the ICMR requisites for KIMS. Blocks of Jeypore, Borigumma, and Kundali were sampled for intervention under the project. For the first phase, a gap analysis and programmatic delays comprehension was planned by a qualitative approach using Focus Group Discussions and in-depth interviews among all stakeholders i.e. both the caregivers as well as the beneficiaries of the programme.

An untiring endeavour has been initiated by the project team, in discussion with its Co-PIs at the State level as well at the district level, (guided by the team at CTD, ICMR and Pune), with the team being trained in the beginning for the mandates of NTEP by the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) District Consultant Dr. Samyak Sahu, Dr. Samantaray as well the District Project Coordinator, Banita at the Koraput TB Unit. Then the block-level project was handheld by the core team of Prof. Dr. Sonali Kar, Dr. S Panda, and second year PG student, Community Medicine Dr. Liwa Patnaik, who visited all the three target blocks of Koraput district (Jeypore, Borigumma and Kunduli) from 20th to 23rd Feb 2023.

All block level medical officer in-charges (Dr.Adla Chaitanya, Dr.Haraprasad Panigrahi and Dr.Sanjeev Behera) were requested to extend cooperation to the project team in terms of village mapping and estimating the burden of the problem. All NTEP workers were also explained the requirements of the project, while also taking their in-depth interviews to understand the ground realities.

Focus Group Discussions were planned for the first block of Jeypore meticulously to maximize the outputs. A triangulation approach of syncing the district health administration, the District/State NTEP staff, as well as the ground-level healthcare workers manning the program benefits, was prepared by the visiting team in a marathon tour of four days. The ground team of a research assistant, one lab technician, and two health assistants are being remotely monitored 24 hours by the core team of KIMS (Prof. Dr. Sonali Kar, Prof. Dr. Smita Panda, Dr. Aurobindo Samantaray, Padmini Sahoo, Lopamudra Barma, Pravasini Patra, Dr. Liwa Patnaik, Dr. Nirmalya Mohapatra) to spearhead the project demands.

To ensure no stone unturned, the team also met the District Collector Abdaal M. Akhtar, who graciously not only gave an audience, but promised to extend his unconditional support for the project.

This visit ear-marks the beginning of the Team KIMS’ commitment to uphold the vision of the project against all odds. The team has also thanked HOD Community Medicine Prof BK. Behera for his cheering spirit for the team as well as Principal Brig Prof. Dr. A P Mohanty, KIMS, for the administrative support. The team has also cherished the blessings of the Founder KIIT-KISS, Dr. Achyuta Samanta at every step and hopes to achieve all success in this project.  

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