Murmu: TB most fatal among infectious diseases, its eradication is duty of all

To speed up the country’s fight against tuberculosis (TB) and achieve the target set by the Prime Minister of eliminating the disease by 2025, President Droupadi Murmu launched the ‘Pradhan Mantri TB-Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan’ on Friday. Under the programme, patients will be provided food baskets, support for additional diagnostic, and vocational training to family members by the community.

At the virtual event, the President said this “jan andolan” is the duty of all countrymen. “As compared to any other infection, TB kills the most number of people in India. It has also been seen that the disease mainly affects the poor. This is the reason PM Narendra Modi has set the target of eliminating TB soon…The government’s initiative and people’s participation can make it a success. When people connect with an abhiyan, the probability of success goes up,” said Murmu, appreciating the work of the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and his team, along with the state ministers and local officials.

She said India set an example for the world during Covid-19 with tireless efforts of the healthcare workers, community leaders, and citizens and emphasised the need to adopt a similar whole-of-society approach to eliminate TB.

“Ni-kshay” portal, which can be used by the individuals, NGOs, and corporates to adopt TB patients, was also launched on Friday. The portal will also have a real-time tracker of the number of people who get adopted.

Mandaviya, who has also pledged to become a Ni-kshay mitra and support TB patients from his hometown, said, “Over the last two years, there have been many hindrances because of Covid-19 that cannot be ignored. But, increasing the pace of our work, we can eliminate TB by 2025.”

He said, “I will become a Ni-kshay mitra, you become one, too. Adopt the patients, help them with food and vocation, give them love and strength so that they can recover and live a normal life.”

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 the end of 2021.

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Highlighting the importance of a patient-centric healthcare system, Mandaviya lauded the contribution of supportive schemes such as the Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana that provides Rs 500 support through direct benefit transfer to the patients. Over 65-lakh persons have received a total support worth Rs 1,700 crore under the programme since it was launched in 2018, according to the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

The Health Secretary said over 1.22 lakh health and wellness centres have been operationalised across the country and services to cure TB are being offered by them. The government has also focused on utilising technology and started creating digital health IDs for TB patients under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission to ensure proper diagnostics and treatment are available to them.