Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan says ‘India aims to end TB by 2025’

Dr. Harsh Vardhan states that India will be able to terminate Tuberculosis by the year 2025.

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Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has conceded high priority for ending tuberculosis by 2025, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), stated the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan. He addressed the ministers of Member Nations of WHO, Heads, and Representatives of UN Agencies and partner organisations, and said, “In India, under the guidance of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, India has accorded high priority for ending tuberculosis by 2025, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).”

He further added that Tuberculosis has been in existence since a long time and it still continues to remain a major global public health problem. Despite the progress made over the last decade, TB remains the leading infectious killer disease worldwide. Praising India’s efforts towards eradication of TB, Harsh Vardhan said, “With bold and innovative policies supported by commensurate resources, India has taken several critical steps towards ending TB. We have significantly reduced the number of missing TB patients from one million in 2016 to less than 0.5 million in 2019, with 2.4 million cases notified during the year. Most importantly, a third of these notifications were contributed by the private sector. With the scale-up of rapid molecular diagnostics in every district of the country, we were able to identify over 66,000 drug-resistant TB patients in 2019.”

The Union Minister also pointed out that poverty is a powerful cognitive factor of tuberculosis and undernutrition an important risk factor of developing active TB disease. “To address this, we are providing cash incentives through Direct Benefit Transfers for nutritional support and since April 2018, Rs 7.9 billion (around USD 110 million) have been distributed to over 3 million beneficiaries. Affordable and quality TB care is a priority for our Government”, he stated. He also talked about India’s fight against COVID-19 and said: “We reached a historic low in the month of April with lockdown in full force, but through sustained efforts, we have managed an increase of 43 per cent in May and another 25 per cent in June.”

To weaken the impact, the government has been issuing constant advisories to the States to ensure convergence of TB case finding with COVID-19 efforts, he said adding that “we have initiated bi-directional screening among TB and COVID-19 patients, and screening for TB among influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI).”

 

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