Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mansukh Mandaviya, on Thursday said that India is the only country in the world to have developed its own mechanism for estimating its TB burden.
He said that by employing a mathematical model based on local evidence, India can now determine the true burden of the disease well ahead of the annual World Health Organization report.
Mr Mandaviya was addressing at a Quad Plus side event on tuberculosis during the 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva.
The event witnessed the participation of distinguished delegates from Quad Plus countries, reinforcing the commitment to tackle the global health challenge posed by TB.
Highlighting India’s proactive response to the TB epidemic, he said, “This year, we observed World TB Day at the One World TB Summit in India essentially highlighting the ethos of One World, One Health that our Prime Minister strongly believes in.”
In his address, he emphasized the significance of the upcoming UN High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on Tuberculosis, scheduled for September, as an opportunity to evaluate the collective progress made towards ending TB.
He commended India’s dedication, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in striving to eliminate TB from the country by 2025, five years ahead of the global Sustainable Development Goal. “India’s relentless efforts in TB control have yielded remarkable outcomes,” he said.
Mr Mandaviya announced that the country has witnessed a 13% reduction in TB incidence from 2015 to 2022, surpassing the global reduction rate of 10%. Additionally, TB mortality in India has decreased by 15% during the same period, compared to the global reduction rate of 5.9%.
Recognizing the importance of early diagnosis, treatment, and preventive measures, Mr Mandaviya said, “To identify all missing cases and reach the ‘unreached’, India has taken diagnostics and treatment to the patients at the last mile under the visionary leadership of our Prime Minister.
To ensure Universal Health Coverage for each and every patient, we have established over 1.5 lahks Health and Wellness Centres which provide TB diagnostics and care to all patients, along with a host of other primary healthcare services. This has been especially beneficial to people residing in hard-to-reach areas of our country, ensuring universal health coverage even in remote areas, he said.
He also highlighted India’s successful collaboration with the private sector, enabling quality care for TB patients through their preferred centres, clinics, and doctors. As a result, notifications from the private sector have increased more than sevenfold over the past nine years.
Addressing the issue of stigma associated with TB, Mr Mandaviya highlighted India’s pioneering community engagement mechanism, the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan (PMTBMBA). Launched by the President, Draupadi Murmu, this initiative aims to support TB patients throughout their treatment journey.
The program, which includes Ni-kshay Mitras or donors, has garnered substantial support, with nearly 78 thousand Ni-kshay Mitras committing to assist around a million patients, raising an estimated $146 million per year.
Furthermore, Mr Mandaviya emphasized India’s commitment to addressing the socioeconomic consequences of TB by establishing the Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana. This unique initiative provides monthly nutritional support to over 75 lakh people undergoing TB treatment through Direct Benefit Transfer, amounting to more than $244 million since its introduction in 2018.
Ge further spoke of India’s family-centric care model for TB, launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, at the One World Tb Summit, which recognizes the essential role of families in an individual’s recovery.
At the One World Tb Summit, a shorter TB Preventive Treatment (TPT) and the TB-Free Panchayat initiative which encourages local governments to combat TB and receive rewards for their efforts were also launched.
He spoke of the crucial need for developing an effective vaccine in the fight against TB.
In this regard he said, “As we have learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic, to eliminate this disease the world needs to work together as one with greater cooperation to ensure equitable access to the latest diagnostic and treatment options. To achieve the UN High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) targets for ending TB by 2030, we must find patient-centric innovative approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat TB. India is committed to sharing its learnings with the world and learning from other contexts as well.”
Concluding his address, Mr Mandaviya expressed his firm belief that with sustained efforts and determination, TB can be eliminated from the world before 2030.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)