Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare delivered the keynote address at the India TB Summit through video-conference, here today. The summit was organized to highlight the global and national prevalence of Tuberculosis in the run up to World TB Day celebrations on 24th March, 2021.
Detailing about the National TB Elimination Programme’s ambitious National Strategic Plan (NSP) to achieve the said target by 2025, he said, “The NSP embraces bold strategies with commensurate resources to rapidly decline TB incidence and mortality. NTEP has instituted many innovations such as contracting of Patient Provider Support Agencies (PPSAs) to enhance engagement with the private sector, strengthening community engagement through TB Forums at the National, State and District levels, and integrating TB services across all levels in the Health System, including the Ayushman Bharat- Health & Wellness Centres, thereby, making TB an essential part of Comprehensive Primary Health Care.”
He also spoke on the new initiatives taken at sub-national level to strengthen community level engagement and to make it a part of Comprehensive Primary Health Care:
i. Through enhanced access to molecular diagnostics by decentralizing CBNAAT and TruNat services, India has enabled earlier detection of drug resistance.
ii. Through Active Case Finding, India has reached out to the unreached and vulnerable groups. Sub-national surveillance of TB and disease-free certification has been introduced, wherein States/Districts that have achieved significant reduction in incidence of TB from 2015 baselines were assessed and have been likewise awarded Bronze, Silver, Gold and even TB Free certifications.
iii. India has established TB Forums which provide a common platform to govt officials, physicians, civil society and representatives from patient groups to discuss all concerns pertaining to service delivery and patient care.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan concluded his address expressing optimism that the support of all stakeholders and collaborations across all the sectors will eradicate TB by 2025, living up to the slogan, “TB Haarega Desh Jeetega.” He wished the India TB Summit a great success.
Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO, Dr. Zarir Udwadia, PD Hinduja Hospital, Dr. Naresh Trehna, Medanta Medicity, Dr. Madhukar Pai, McGill University, Dr. Anil Koul, Vice President & Head, Global Public Health & Infectious Discovery Research, Johnson & Johnson were present in the meeting. Many MDR TB survivors and patient advocates were also present.