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India aiming to eliminate TB 5 years ahead of SDG target: Health Minister

At a Quad plus side event on tuberculosis, Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya highlighted India's efforts to reach out to overlooked patients and combat TB's societal stigma

Mansukh L Mandaviya

Union health minister Mansukh L Mandaviya (PTI Photo)

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday highlighted India’s commitment to mitigating the impacts of tuberculosis (TB) by establishing the Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana, which provides monthly nutritional support to over 7.5 million patients through direct benefit transfer. The scheme has allocated more than $244 million since its 2018 launch.

Mandaviya, who delivered the keynote address at a Quad plus side event on tuberculosis during the 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva, emphasised India's unique approach to estimating TB impact, which uses a mathematically based model to calculate disease burden prior to the annual World Health Organization (WHO) report.

From 2015 to 2022, India saw a 13 per cent decline in TB cases, beating the global reduction of 10 per cent. The nation's TB death rate declined by 15 per cent during the same time period, surpassing the global drop of 5.9 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry.

The minister highlighted the country's efforts to reach out to overlooked patients and combat TB's societal stigma. The Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan (PMTBMBA), India's community participation program, helps TB patients throughout their treatment.

This initiative, with about 78,000 donors known as Ni-kshay Mitras, has vowed to assist approximately one million patients, producing an estimated $146 million per year, he said.

At the recent One World TB Summit, India announced a family-centred TB care model, a shorter TB preventive treatment (TPT), and the TB-Free Panchayat initiative, which rewards local governments for anti-TB efforts. Stressing the need for an efficient TB vaccine, Mandaviya said that international cooperation and patient-focused innovation were essential to meeting the UN’s 2030 TB eradication goals.

He also assured India’s willingness to share its experience and learn from others in the global fight against TB.

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First Published: May 25 2023 | 3:45 PM IST

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