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“When India decides, India does”, says Dr Harsh Vardhan

 Fast Mail News -Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare inaugurated “World Tuberculosis Day” celebrations along with Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare at Dr Ambedkar International Centre, here today.

 Dr Vinod Paul, Member Health, NITI Ayog, Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Prof. Balram Bhargava, Secretary DHR & DG ICMR, Dr Roderico H. Offrin, WHO representative to India and other senior dignitaries were also present at the occasion. 

Addressing the event, the Union Health Minister said, “India has 30% of the world’s TB cases. Under the leadership of our Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi Ji, we have accorded the highest priority to end tuberculosis by 2025. We have also ensured that the commitments are supported with commensurate resources. Budget allocation for TB in India has witnessed a fourfold increase in the last 5 years. High-quality drugs, digital technology, engaging the private sector and communities, integrating TB services across all levels within the health system, are all aligned to rapidly decline TB incidence and mortality in the country”.

Awards were also given to best performing States/UTs based on their State TBI Index. Lakshadweep (UT) and the district of Budgam (J&K) were declared TB free.

  While distributing the medals and certificates to awardees, Dr Harsh Vardhan noted, “This is a historic day for India as one UT and one district have been declared TB-free. This is just an initial step in the direction of a bigger dream of elimination of TB from India. I am confident that next year we shall have more States, UTs and Districts stepping up to the challenge and laying such claims.

The last few years have seen the country take definitive steps towards the elimination of tuberculosis from the country. The sustained efforts of the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme have led to an unprecedented increase in TB notifications and significant improvements in timely diagnosis, adherence, and treatment outcomes.

It is an encouraging sign and reflects that we now have better access to TB patients and the ability to provide free treatment to patients from both the public and private sectors.  Over the past few years, we have significantly ramped up India’s diagnostic capacity for TB and we now have at least one rapid molecular diagnostic facility available in each district and we are aiming to decentralize it down to the block level.

“On this occasion of World TB Day, I call for a “TB Mukt Bharat and ask all of you present here and all citizens of this country to rise to the occasion and make India’s resolve to end TB by 2025 into a Jan Andolan. Let us pledge to march together as one people and truly make sure our country defeats this disease in the next four years”, he said. 

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