Union Health Minister J P Nadda on Thursday reaffirmed India’s commitment to eliminate Tuberculosis (TB) by 2025 at 1st WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in Sustainable Development Era’ at Moscow, Russia.
Speaking at the first high level plenary, Mr Nadda said that India has ended polio and will use a similar intensified effort to end TB as well, saying that the National Strategic Plan for TB elimination in India has essentially four pillars to address the major challenges for TB control, namely- “Detect, Treat, Build and Prevent”.
“This plan requires a significant increase in the budget compared to previous NSP and I am happy to share with you that this plan is fully funded and most of this is through domestic resources,” Mr Nadda elaborated.
The Union Health Minister pointed out that since the major challenges for TB control in India are many; the government’s first priority is reaching the unreached.
“The government will ensure access to care for some vulnerable populations such as tribals, people in urban slums etc. Early diagnosis of all patients and putting them on the right treatment and ensuring their complete treatment is crucial,” he emphasized.
The Minister further informed the participants that the Indian government has given top priority to addressing the quality of care for patients including 25% of the budget being earmarked for direct interventions in this area.
The government provides free diagnosis with rapid molecular tests, free treatment with best quality drugs and regimens, financial and nutritional support to patients, online TB notification systems, mobile technology based adherence monitoring system, interphase agencies for better private sector engagements, policy for transparent service purchase schemes, stronger community engagements, communication campaigns, regulatory systems to capture information on all those consuming anti-TB drugs etc.
Highlighting India’s commitment further, Mr Nadda stated that to provide access to patients in difficult to reach areas, both socially and geographically, the government has started active TB case finding campaigns in selected areas.
The government has already completed two such campaigns covering 257 districts and screened over 30 million vulnerable persons and detected over 15,000 additional TB cases.
The ministry has further planned to start the next campaign in December this year.
The ministry is also organizing a side event at the conference on ‘Ending TB: Our Promise to Our People’ assisted by Global Coalition against TB, which will be attended by 7 MPs and other world leaders.