“We have seen the unwavering commitment of Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end TB in India. We are ready to lead from the front and be voice of the Global South in the collaborative fight against TB.” This was stated by Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare during his address to the 36th Board Meeting of the Stop TB Partnership, here today. He was joined by Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare.
Addressing the gathering, Dr Mandaviya stated that “India has identified 3 important health priorities under the G20 Presidency. All of these are focused on universal health coverage and relevant to our response for TB elimination”. He added that a lot of “exceptional work is being done at the ground level through innovation in case finding, mathematical modelling, digital interventions and surveillance”. “India would be happy to share technical assistance with other countries to replicate such good practices”, he stated.
Dr Mandaviya emphasized that effort is on not only to rebound from Covid but also bring innovative strategies like the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan which has become a one-of-a-kind movement in the world. He said that it is a Call to Action to mobilize communities to end TB.
Highlighting the crucial importance of TB vaccine in the global fight against the disease, the Union Health Minister urged the Stop TB Partnership Board to deliberate on this and take up this matter at the UN High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in September this year. “TB vaccine is needed urgently”, he emphasized. It is also important to fast-track its development, expand the manufacturing capacities and help countries in its easy access, Dr Mandaviya pointed out.
Dr Lucica Ditiu emphasized that “India has a pivotal role in eliminating TB because India’s progress will drive the world.” She also praised India for “doing very sophisticated modelling with their Ni-kshay data.” “Their innovations, ideas and strategies for bringing healthcare closer to people is something that the whole world can emulate”, she stated.
The Stop TB Partnership Board appreciated India’s estimation of TB burden developed with in-country evidence. An “Accountability Report of TB-affected Communities & Civil Society: Priorities to Close the Deadly Divide” was also launched at the event.
Roli Singh, Additional Secretary, Health Ministry, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asian Region, Austin Arinze Obiefuna, Vice-Chair, Stop TB Partnership; Dr Ashok Babu, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry; Dr Rajendra Joshi, Deputy Director General, Central TB Division, Health Ministry; Dr Rao, Assistant Director General, Central TB Division, Health Ministry; and other senior officials also attended the event.