New Delhi : Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare addressed the 35th Board meeting of the Stop TB Partnership through video-conference, here today.
At the outset, Dr. Mandaviya expressed condolences for all lives lost due to COVID19 and TB and thanked all health workers, caregivers and community members for relentlessly working with people affected by TB.
Underscoring the severe impact of the COVID19 pandemic on TB programs in high burden countries, the Union Minister highlighted that, “under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, several new initiatives have been taken in India to turn the crisis into an opportunity, such as ‘bidirectional testing’ of TB with Covid, house-to-house TB detection campaigns, scale up of rapid molecular diagnostics at sub-district levels, use of Artificial Intelligence and Digital tools, Jan Andolan (peoples’ movement) and most importantly decentralization of TB services to Ayushman Bharat Health & Wellness Centres as part of comprehensive primary healthcare”.
He also informed that a new initiative, “Adopt people with TB” will be launched this year, based on Indian values of collectivism which will call upon corporates, industries, organisations, political parties & individuals to come forward and adopt TB infected people and family and provide them with nutritional and social support. “We are also actively involving elected representatives in India like the Hon’ble Members of Parliament, Hon’ble Members of Legislative Assemblies in the States, members of urban local bodies and panchayat representatives at the grassroots level in raising awareness and advocating for TB across the country”, the Minister stated.
Emphasizing on strengthening TB prevention activities, Dr Mandaviya announced that “starting later this year we will introduce a newly approved “made in India” TB infection skin test called ‘c-TB’”, stating that this cost-effective tool will be of immense benefit to other high burden countries as well.
The Union Health Minister noted that 2022 is an important year since it is the target year for many of the commitments made in the UNHLM of 2018. He also laid stress on discussing bold and ambitious commitments in this Board meeting for the upcoming UNHLM of TB in 2023.
Dr Mandaviya congratulated Hon’ble Minister of Health of Indonesia, Mr Budi Gunadi Sadikin for being a champion in prioritizing TB under the Indonesia Presidency of G20. He also informed that India, under its 2023 Presidency of the G20, will focus on two health issues – TB and Cervical Cancer.
Dr. Mandaviya reiterated India’s commitment to end TB and urged everyone to cooperate and collaborate at every level to achieve the “End TB” goals.
Vice Chair of the Board, Mr. Obiefuna Austin, Ms. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership, Mr. Peter Sands, Executive Director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Dr. Teresa Caseva, Director, Global Tuberculosis (TB) Programme WHO, and other senior officials of the organization and allied development partners were virtually present at the meet.