Health Minister launches Tribal TB Initiative to achieve ‘TB Mukt Bharat’ by 2025
The Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan reiterated on the occasion that the union territories of Lakshadweep and the district of Badgam in Jammu & Kashmir have been declared TB Free on World TB Day 2021.
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched the “Tribal TB Initiative” on March 26, 2021, as a step towards achieving 'TB Mukt Bharat' by 2025.
Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda and Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar were also present on the occasion.
The Ministry also released a guidance note on Joint Action Plan for elimination of Tuberculosis (TB), a Special Edition of Tribal Ministry’s Publication ‘ALEKH’ on TB and a document on Tribal Tuberculosis (TB) Initiative at the event.
On the occasion, the Union Health Minister highlighted that India witnessed over 18.04 lakh TB notifications, notwithstanding the difficulties presented because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its related regulation/preventive strategies.
He said that "despite all the unforeseen challenges of COVID 19, the Indian Government was able to convert all those into opportunities for TB Elimination by introducing bidirectional screening for COVID-19 and TB, strengthening diagnostic networks and combining TB screening in COVID surveillance activities."
He further said that health being a holistic subject influenced by all aspects of life, the necessity to have a multisectoral collaboration with various Ministries and Departments to reach out to the most vulnerable population categories was underscored to achieve the TB elimination target by 2025.
•The Health Minister stated that India has over 104 million tribal population lives in India, across 705 tribes, accounting for 8.6 % of the country’s population.
•He said that through constant efforts, their government is able to see developments in their health indicators and overall wellbeing.
•Around 177 tribal districts were identified as high-priority districts where poor living conditions, physical remoteness, malnutrition and lack of awareness contribute to the vulnerability of the tribal population to TB.
•The activities of the joint plan will initially focus on 161 districts across 18 identified States. The activities include deploying improved vulnerability mapping techniques and organization of sensitization and capacity-building workshops for volunteers.
•There would also be periodic TB active case finding drives and provision of TB Preventive Therapy (IPT) to the identified vulnerable population and develop long-term mechanisms for vulnerability reduction.
•The Health Minister further mentioned that the linkage of the NIKSHAY Portal of MoHFW and Swasthya Portal of the M/o Tribal Affairs will boost data compilation on Tuberculosis and pave way for efficient and convergent actions.
•The Minister also said,“ India will be the textbook guidance to the world in TB elimination, if we could achieve this by 2025, even before the global SDG target of 2030.”
The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda congratulated both the Ministries on the formulation of the joint plan and observed that the health problems of the tribal communities need customised solutions. He said that it is heartening to see the joint initiatives of both the Ministries to eliminate TB among the tribal communities of India.
How will India achieve 'TB Mukt Bharat' by 2025?
•The Health Minister noted that the Indian government has already increased the Budget allocation for TB in India to four-fold in the last 5 years.
•He said that the government has already aligned digital initiatives, top-quality drugs, diagnostics, innovative private sector interventions and community engagement intervention to rapidly decline TB incidence and mortality in the country.
•The Health Minister reiterated that the union territories of Lakshadweep and the district of Badgam in Jammu & Kashmir have been declared TB Free on World TB Day 2021.
•Several other states and districts across India have also been awarded for their progress made towards achieving the SDGs related to Tuberculosis.