Karnataka: Kolar’s Kamala Nehru TB sanatorium takes on Covid-19 | Bengaluru News

KOLAR: The Kamala Nehru TB Sanatorium in Kolar, which successfully neutralised tuberculosis that ravaged the region over 60 years ago, is now the nerve centre of the battle against Covid-19.
Named after the wife of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru – she herself was a victim of TB – the building now houses Kolar district’s health office which is at the forefront of surveillance activities against Covid-19.
Officials working out of this building oversee and steer activities like testing, quarantining and isolation of confirmed patients in designated isolation hospital, while the building also houses the state’s first facility where randomised blood tests for high-risk patients is conducted, Dr MA Charini, district surveillance officer, told TOI. Kits from South Korea are being used for testing.
When TB raged in the region during the 1950s the state government decided to establish a sanatorium for those suffering from the disease. The sanatorium in Kolar was expected to also cater to districts in neighbouring states like Chitoor in Andhra Pradesh and Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu.
Built on a sprawling seven-acre plot, the hospital began functioning in 1955. It was inaugurated by then AICC President Indira Gandhi, recalls C Gangadhar, a coffee planter whose father Channabasavaiah got the administrative block constructed for the sanatorium. Gangadhar told TOI he was 10 years old when he witnessed the inauguration. He was seated in the donors’ gallery.
With TB spreading in the region, the hospital’s strength was raised from 160 to 264 and on an average it would always have not less than 250 inpatients. As recently as between 2000 to 2003, over 2,000 patients were treated at the sanatorium, according to the Kolar district gazetteer.
With gradual decrease in TB cases between 2005 and 2010, staffs working at the sanatorium were shifted to various other hospitals. With no activities, the huge structure wore a deserted look until the Kolar administration decided to move the district health office to the building eight years ago.
The building also houses the Digital Nerve Centre ( DiNC), the first ever telemedicine centre set up by Tata Group in 2017.

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