Efforts on to make India TB free by 2025: Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday launched a Jan-Andolan against Tuberculosis involving Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization (ACSM).

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan chaired a high-level meeting with senior officials of the ministry and other Development Partners to launch the project. The Minister said it is high time to de-stigmatize the disease and help realize the goal of a TB-free India by 2025.

Dr Harsh Vardhan outlined the various steps taken by the Government of India under the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP) in combating the disease of TB which were backed by bold commitments of both affirmative action and resources.

The Minister said: “While the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme continues to augment efforts to further strengthen TB management and service delivery, it is only when the wider population uses the essence of democracy and the spirit of Jan Andolan through generation of awareness, encouragement of health care seeking behaviour within their communities, and de-stigmatization of TB, would the movement against the disease be a success.”

Dr Harsh Vardhan said India has drawn inspiration from lessons in COVID-19 management, where the country has not only successfully dealt with the pandemic, but emerged as a beacon of hope with the world looking up to India for solutions.

He chaired deliberations on a National Technical Support Unit (NTSU) that is proposed to be set up in collaboration with development partners to support the Government of India’s efforts, both nationally and in states, to help strengthen on-ground program delivery by employing various advocacy and communications approaches to generate demand and create awareness on the services available under the TB program.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Arti Ahuja, Addl. Secretary (Health), Dr Sunil Kumar, DGHS and other senior officials of the Ministry were present at the meeting. Dr Roderico Ofrin, Country Representative, India (WHO)and representatives of Development Partners like BMGF and USAID were also present at the event.