Open cases of TB, that is those who exhale TB bacteria in the breath, can infect 10-15 others annually. Close contacts of these sputum positive/ active patients are likely to contract TB, i.e. family members, work colleagues, neighbors and so on. An urgent need is to scale up detection of these hidden patients, thus providing them with health and increased productivity.

Contact tracing is a methodology through which potential outbreak of a disease is checked in a population by scientifically tracking these potential victims (or suspects) of the disease. Various objectives are fulfilled through contact tracing of suspects of TB – Identifying patients early, enrolling them in treatment and reducing chances of infection to other individuals.

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The eDetection App is developed by Operation ASHA (OpASHA) to carry on the activity in the optimal manner. This App is given to OpASHA’s community providers. The providers visit families of existing patients, factories where patients work and also go door-to-door in areas they serve. They use the App to educate the community on symptoms of TB, ask them to answer a basic questionnaire, and subsequently facilitate sputum testing and diagnosis of suspects. The App also is used to connect with patients and form a wireless link with the microscopy centers so that no patient is lost to follow-up.

This App has the capability to strengthen our impact by reaching out and detecting vulnerable, at-risk persons. There are 1.8 million new cases of TB in India each year, so active case finding is an urgent need.

Benefits

  • Education and awareness about TB
  • Enables detection in a timely manner
  • Data sets for contacts are automatically updated
  • It is wireless and therefore transportable
  • The technology is simple, low cost, and usable by semi-literate health workers
  • Technology is replicable i.e. adaptable in other geographical setting

It has rightly been said that if you do not diagnose you cannot treat. Through our eDetection App, detection will be taken to new heights whereby no patient will ‘escape the net’ and patients will be treated much sooner. TB Providers will also deliver support, education, create awareness and dissolve stigmas effectively. It will also make their work simpler and will enable them to give targeted counselling and follow up suspects for a long time.

eDetection App could be a simple addition to the existing TB treatment model, yet by implementing it, the program will intensify its reach. As each patient goes on to infect at least 10 others, the program shall screen these and many others through contact tracing. The benefits are far more advantageous for whole communities- will help eradicate TB and turn the tap off Drug resistant forms. It will not only help individual patients by providing health and increased productivity but it will also prevent further spread of the disease.

eDetection App could be a simple addition to the existing TB treatment model, yet by implementing it, the program will intensify its reach. As each patient goes on to infect at least 10 others, the program shall screen these and many others through contact tracing. The benefits are far more advantageous for whole communities- will help eradicate TB and turn the tap off Drug resistant forms. It will not only help individual patients by providing health and increased productivity but it will also prevent further spread of the disease.

Future Replication Possibilities

Current used for Tuberculosis, eDetection app can be modified to cater a myriad of other infectious or genetically transferred diseases, which include HIV, Hemophilia, ebola, etc.

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