Eliminating TB by 2025 is a national duty says VP Naidu
Taking serious cognizance of challenge of TB in India and the fact that while more men are diagnosed with TB, studies suggest that women are less likely to seek care for TB symptoms than their male counterparts, Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the National Parliamentary Conference on Tuberculosis among Women in the presence of Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Smt. Smriti Z. Irani, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare and Shri Munjapara Mahendrabhai, Minister of State for Women and Child Development.
The Conference underlined that undernutrition along with its engendered pattern is an important and established risk factor for the progression of latent TB infection to active TB. Therefore, the battling of TB stigma, ensuring that women actively seek and complete TB care along with adequate nutritional support, and ensuring that there is whole-of-society participation in achieving the goal to eliminate TB by 2025 were highlighted.
The Vice President reminded everyone that eliminating TB is a national duty. He observed that a societal approach that brings together people from all gender and backgrounds into a "Jan Andolan" is needed to achieve the ambitious project of eliminating TB by 2025. He urged everyone to make efforts towards ensuring good nutrition, clean air and addressing social stigmas associated with the disease.
Addressing the occasion, Dr. Mandaviya said, "TB is one of the major public health challenges for India. Each year, it is estimated that over 24.8 lakh new TB cases emerge in the country, with an estimated more than 4 lakh people succumbing to the disease annually. Over 10 lakh women and girls, and more than 3 lakh children are affected with TB each year in the country. The problem gets further compounded with a higher risk of this disease among women during pregnancy and post-partum period with adverse impact on foetus and infants."
On the staunch political commitment to end the disease, he noted, "India is committed to end TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global Sustainable Development Goals target of 2030. Recognizing the need for accelerated and sustained focus to achieve the target of a TB Free India, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare had launched the 'TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan' aimed at mass awareness generation and successive behaviour change of the community." He underscored that 65% of the cases are in the age-group of 25 to 55, when people are the most productive and probably the only source of family income which accords the elimination of the disease a top priority. "The entire Cabinet is working using a Total Approach to eliminate TB by 2025," he added lauding the initiative of WCD Ministry in organising the conference.
In this regard, he flagged the collaboration of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the Ministry of Women & Child Development and noted that 'Sankalp' is the road and foundation to 'Siddhi'. He expressed his hope that strengthening synergy and convergence at the ground level will provide the much-needed acceleration towards ending TB in the country by 2025.
Smt. Irani began her address by highlighting that the current societal stigma to TB has ensured that 6.9 lakh women were fighting not only TB but for their self respect in the last year. She observed, "Prime Minister's vision of eliminating TB by 2025 cannot be achieved only through government's efforts. It needs a societal effort to achieve the milestone" She ended her speech by thanking all the healthcare workers, TB champions, partner ministries and the partner agencies in the following words: "You all have put women at the centre of your efforts and for that you will always have my deepest gratitude. TB Haarega Desh Jeetega"
Shri Indevar Pandey, Secretary WCD and Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary (Health) were also present on the occasion.