Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

India Witnessed 13% Reduction In Tuberculosis Incidence From 2015 To 2022, Claims Minister

May 25, 2023
Representational image. Photo credit: Wikipedia

India’s relentless efforts in Tuberculosis (TB) control have yielded remarkable outcomes and the country has witnessed a 13% reduction in TB incidence from 2015 to 2022, surpassing the global reduction rate of 10%. Additionally, TB mortality in India has decreased by 15% during the same period, compared to the global reduction rate of 5.9%.

This was disclosed by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya during his Keynote Address at a Quad Plus Side Event on Tuberculosis (Tb) during the 76th World Health Assembly being held in Geneva.

Recognizing the importance of early diagnosis, treatment, and preventive measures, Dr. Mandaviya said, “To identify all missing cases and reach the ‘unreached’, India has taken diagnostics and treatment to the patients at the last mile. To ensure Universal Health Coverage to each and every patient, we have established over 1.5 lakh Health & Wellness Centre’s which provide TB diagnostics and care to all patients, along with a host of other primary healthcare services. This has been especially beneficial to people residing in hard-to-reach areas of our country, ensuring universal health coverage even in remote areas”.

Dr. Mandaviya also highlighted India’s successful collaboration with the private sector, enabling quality care for TB patients through their preferred centers, clinics, and doctors. As a result, notifications from the private sector have increased more than sevenfold over the past nine years.

The event witnessed the participation of distinguished delegates from Quad Plus countries, reinforcing the commitment to tackle the global health challenge posed by TB.

Highlighting India’s proactive response to the TB epidemic, Dr. Mandaviya said, “This year, we observed World TB Day at the One World TB Summit in India essentially highlighting the ethos of One World, One Health that our Hon’ble Prime Minister strongly believes in.” He shared that India is the only country in the world to have developed its own mechanism for estimating its TB burden. By employing a mathematical model based on local evidence, India can now determine the true burden of the disease well ahead of the annual World Health Organization report.

Dr.Mandaviya emphasized the significance of the upcoming UN High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on Tuberculosis, scheduled for September, as an opportunity to evaluate the collective progress made towards ending TB.

Addressing the issue of stigma associated with TB, Dr. Mandaviya highlighted India’s pioneering community engagement mechanism, the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan (PMTBMBA). Launched by President Droupadi Murmu, this initiative aims to support TB patients throughout their treatment journey. The program, which includes Ni-kshay Mitras or donors, has garnered substantial support, with nearly 78 thousand Ni-kshay Mitras committing to assist around a million patients, raising an estimated $146 million per year.

Furthermore, Dr. Mandaviya emphasized India’s commitment to addressing the socioeconomic consequences of TB by establishing the Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana. This unique initiative provides monthly nutritional support to over 75 lakh people undergoing TB treatment through Direct Benefit Transfer, amounting to more than $244 million since its introduction in 2018.

Dr Mandaviya spoke of the crucial need of developing an effective vaccine in the fight against TB. In this regard he said, “As we have learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic, to eliminate this disease the world needs to work together as one with greater cooperation to ensure equitable access to latest diagnostic and treatment options. To achieve the UN High Level Meeting (UNHLM) targets for ending TB by 2030, we must find patient-centric innovative approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat TB. India is committed to share its learnings with the world and learn from other contexts as well.”

Dr Mandaviya expressed his firm belief that with sustained efforts and determination, TB can be eliminated from the world before 2030.

Girja Shankar Kaura

The writer is a Delhi-based freelance journalist, who has reported and written on a wide range of subjects in an extensive career.