Prime Minister Narendra Modi today reiterated India’s firm resolve to eliminate TB by 2025 as against the global target of 2030.
He was addressing the One World TB Summit at Rudrakash Convention Centre in Varanasi. He also launched various initiatives including the TB-Mukt Panchayat, the official pan-India rollout of a shorter TB Preventive Treatment (TPT), the Family-centric care model for TB and the release of India’s Annual TB Report 2023.
Referring to the capacity and health infrastructure enhancement during the Covid-19 pandemic, Modi underlined the high use of Trace, Test, Track, Treat, and Technology, in the fight against the disease.
“There is a massive global potential in this local approach of India,” he said, emphasising the need to collectively use that potential. He pointed out that 80 per cent of TB medicines were made in India.
“I would like that more and more countries get the benefit of all such campaigns, innovations and modern technology of India. All of the countries involved in this summit can develop a mechanism for this. I am sure, this resolution of ours will definitely be fulfilled – Yes, We can eliminate TB,” the PM declared.
He said that the commitment and determination with which India dedicated itself to tackling TB after 2014 was unprecedented. India’s efforts were important as this was a new model for the global war on TB. He elaborated on a multi-pronged approach initiated by India against TB in the last nine years.
Regarding people’s participation, the PM talked about the Ni-kshay Mitra Campaign in helping TB patients. He informed that about 10 lakh TB patients have been adopted by citizens and even children aged 10-12 years have come forward. Financial help to the TB patient under the programme has reached up to Rs 1000 crores. He termed the movement ‘inspirational’ and expressed happiness that even Pravasi Indians were participating in this.
He underlined that the government had announced a Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for TB patients in 2018 and as a result, about Rs 2000 crores have been directly transferred into their bank accounts for treatment. Nearly 75 lakh TB patients have benefitted from this. “Ni-kshay Mitras have now become a new source of energy for all TB patients,” the PM said.
Noting that it was extremely difficult to arrive at new solutions by practicing outdated ways, he said the government has worked with new strategies so that TB patients do not fall out of their treatment. He gave examples of initiating the Ayushman Bharat Scheme for the screening and treatment of TB, increasing the number of testing labs in the country and formulating region-specific work policies by targeting cities where the number of TB patients was high.
Along similar lines, the PM informed that a new campaign called ‘TB Mukt Panchayat Abhiyan’ was also being launched today. He also highlighted that the government was starting a 3-month treatment programme for the prevention of TB instead of a 6-month course. He informed that earlier, the patients had to take medicines for 6 months every day but now, in the new system, the patient would have to take medicine only once a week. He also spoke about tech integration in the TB Free India campaign.