Hon’ble President of India, Droupadi Murmu, on September 9, 2022, urged citizens to work collectively towards TB elimination, on a war footing. Keeping the same in mind, she launched the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan, and mentioned that when a welfare scheme is made in interest of people, its chances of success increase manifold.
Union Health & Family Welfare Minister, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar were present at the launch event along with Union Ministers, Governors and Lt. Governors, State Health Ministers and other dignitaries. The virtual event, also attended by state and district health administrations, representatives from corporates, industries, civil society, NGOs, and TB Champions, reiterated India’s commitment to eliminate the high-burden infectious disease by 2025, five years ahead of the global goal of 2030. This vision was first articulated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister at the Delhi End TB Summit in March 2018.
The President also launched the Ni-kshay Mitra initiative to ensure additional diagnostic, nutritional, and vocational support to those on TB treatment, and encouraged elected representatives, corporates, NGOs, and individuals to come forward as donors to help the patients complete their journey towards recovery. The Ni-kshay 2.0 portal will facilitate in providing additional patient support to improve treatment outcome of TB patients, augmenting community involvement in meeting India’s commitment to end TB by 2025 and leveraging Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) opportunities.
The virtual launch event showcased India’s accelerated progress through the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) owing to commitment at the highest levels. At the ceremony, President Murmu also appreciated the tireless efforts of the healthcare workers, community leaders, and citizens for managing the COVID-19 pandemic and underlined the need to adopt a similar whole-of-society approach to eliminate TB from the country.
She reiterated the goal of universal health coverage ensuring no one is left behind in accessing affordable quality healthcare through all levels of the health system. Highlighting the progress made through the Ayushman Bharat scheme in this endeavour, she expressed confidence in pivotal role of the strengthened healthcare system in achieving TB elimination goals and stressed on enhanced awareness regarding the treatment for TB, a curable disease. The treatment is available free of cost at government health facilities.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya stated, “The Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan is an extension of Hon’ble Prime Minister’s citizen- centric policies”.
He attributed success of the TB programme on key indicators such as TB case notifications and consistent efforts that led to monthly notification reporting to reach pre-pandemic levels by end of 2021, and emphasized that a 360-degree approach is the cornerstone of TB elimination in India and observed that a societal approach that brings together people from all backgrounds into a Jan Andolan is needed to achieve the ambitious target of eliminating TB by 2025.
President Murmu also highlighted the need to collectively fight the stigma attached with the disease.