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Need to forge new partnerships to eliminate tuberculosis: Nadda


Press Trust of India New York
Chronic under-funding of tuberculosis research is one of the key reasons why the disease still remains a challenge, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said Thursday while stressing the need to forge new partnerships to eliminate the disease.
Nadda also said a National Strategic Plan has been made operational to implement the vision of a TB-free India and asserted that the country has allocated USD 430 million for implementation of the Plan in the current year - an increase of 54 per cent over last year.
"Our goal continues to be to achieve the vision of universal access to quality diagnosis and treatment for TB and address the social determinants of TB through a multi-sectoral response," he said.
He was speaking at the high level meeting on tuberculosis at 73rd session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) here.
The Health Minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown personal commitment to tackle TB head-on as India plans to eliminate the disease by 2025, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target of 2030, by launching the TB Free India Campaign.
"We have adopted a patient-centred and community-based model to end TB. India's National Health Policy 2017 clearly articulates the vision of a TB free India.
"To implement this vision, a National Strategic Plan has been made operational. India has allocated USD 430 million for implementation of the Plan in the current year, which is an increase of 54 per cent over last year," he said.
According to the World Health Statistics 2018 released by WHO recently, India saw an estimated 211 cases of TB per 1,00,000 people in 2016, better than neighbouring Bangladesh and Myanmar which recorded 221 and 361 cases respectively in this category.
Nadda pointed out that India is making innovative use of digital technology in monitoring and notification of TB cases. "We are also engaging with private sector care providers to improve access to TB care," he said.
The Union Health Minister cautioned that chronic under-funding of TB research and development is one of the reasons why TB still remains a "challenge".
"Equitable access to medicines, diagnostic tools and technologies remains a concern. We must address all barriers to access to medicines and to new technologies, including through use of flexibility provisions in WTO TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration," he said.
He observed that new partnerships need to be forged to eliminate TB.
"Successful development of rapid molecular TB tests by using indigenous, affordable technology and new digital X-Ray technology herald the potential that India holds to the future of TB research," he said.
He added that India has established its own TB research consortium to accelerate research efforts in TB. The launch of the BRICS TB Research Network is also a promising opportunity, he added.
The US and India too have formed an alliance to combat the deadly disease that kills one person every minute in the country.
The 'USAID-India End TB Alliance' was announced on Wednesday by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Mark Green at an event here in the presence of Nadda.

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First Published: Sep 27 2018 | 6:10 PM IST

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