Committed to achieving zero TB deaths: Nadda

New Delhi [India], Mar. 25 (ANI): With the aim of ensuring zero Tuberculosis (TB) deaths and affordable and quality healthcare to the population, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda launched new initiatives to combat the disease.

The Health Minister announced that the National Strategic Program (NSP) would be finalised in one month and would be rolled out across the country. He further added that the resources would not be a constraint and the Government would continue to work with all stakeholders in devising short term and long term approaches.

"Ensuring affordable and quality healthcare to the population is a priority for the government and we are committed to achieving zero TB deaths and therefore we need to re-strategise, think afresh and have to be aggressive in our approach to end TB by 2025," said Nadda at a function on the occasion of 'World TB Day' on Friday.

Acknowledging the substantial progress made by the Government in combating TB, Nadda said that TB control and India's National TB Control Programme have been recognised as one of the most successful public health programmes.

He further added that TB was a disease which was largely curable and preventable.

"Drug resistant TB is a growing threat and the diagnosis and treatment is much costlier. We have gone deep into the reason of such a situation and have decided to take a head on attack on the root cause of the disease," he said.

Speaking at the function, Nadda informed that the Government has made case notification mandatory.

"A high proportion, almost 92 percent of TB patients with HIV have been put on antiretroviral therapy," he said.

The Health Minister further stated that the Government had rolled out more than 500 CBNAAT machines in one year, offering rapid quality diagnostics, linking at least one such machine for each district and these steps had led to a 35 percent rise in the Drug Resistant TB case notification in 2016.

"New anti-TB drug Bedaquiline has been introduced under Conditional Access Programme (CAP) to improve outcomes of drug resistant TB treatment," Nadda elaborated.

Addressing the participants, Nadda further said that IT based E-Nikshay platform was made user friendly so that private doctors find it easy to notify.

The Health Minister reiterated that keeping TB at bay was everyone's responsibility, including the private sector to provide quality TB care to all TB patients.

"Every TB patient should be able to access treatment without fear of stigma or unwarranted retrenchment," Nadda said.

On the occasion, Nadda also released Annual TB Report - TB India 2017, Guidance document on nutrition support for Tuberculosis patients, national framework for joint TB-Diabetes collaborative activities, Swasth E-Gurukul TB and TB Awareness Media Campaign featuring actor Amitabh Bachchan.

"Awareness plays a vital role in enhancing the uptake of services offered by the government for TB and fighting stigma and discrimination prevalent against the TB patients," he said.

At the event, both MoS (Health) highlighted the several notable steps taken by the Ministry in case finding, formulating standards of care, implementation of RNTCP, government notifications, surveillance tools, advancement of eHealth and eGovernance needs, counselling for TB patients, etc.

The TB programme in January conducted an active case finding campaign targeting specific vulnerable groups like slum dwellers, miners, migrant workers, tribals and people residing in hard to reach areas, covering 50 districts in 17 states/U.T.s. The campaign screened over 45 lakh people and detected more than 2600 additional cases.

The RNTCP is pro-actively engaging with the private sector to improve notification and the quality of care it delivers, by using IT enabled tools and innovative public private partnership models. In the last one year, these efforts have resulted in 1.5 fold increase in number of case notifications from private health care providers.

MoHFW will soon be announcing the new National Strategic Plan for TB Elimination (2017-2025) which will provide a framework to guide all stakeholders, including state governments, development partners, civil society organizations, international agencies, research institutions, the private sector, and many others, to realise the Prime Minister's vision of achieving TB elimination by 2025, five years before the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target. (ANI)