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People’s support will have to be taken to get rid of TB

Dr. Bharti Praveen Pawar

corona pandemic We all got to learn a lot from the difficult challenge of. During this our campaign against another infectious disease TB also continued. Realizing the seriousness of the campaign against TB in the year 2018 itself, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set a target of eradicating TB by 2025. There is now less than three years left for this target to expire. In such a situation, it is necessary that we improve our strategy by assessing the achievements of the National Tuberculosis Elimination Program (NTEP).

However, I would like to clarify that we already have effective TB eradication policies which are playing a significant role in reducing the impact of TB at the community level. Whether it is free treatment or care, both these facilities are available in government health centers as well as private centers. We have ensured screening and testing of TB disease even in remote parts of the country. Along with medical screening of TB disease, health care and social support policies have also been implemented to fully support those infected.

I also want to praise the TB program because it has always shown a positive attitude towards infected patients and other policies related to their support. For example, under the Arubha Project in Telangana, community TB support groups have been formed with volunteer women’s groups, Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers and panchayat members. Community level counseling is being provided to TB patients in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

Considering the importance of nutrition in TB treatment, the government has implemented the very important Nikshay Poshan Yojana. Under this, every registered TB infected gets Rs 500 per month through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) during treatment. Since its inception in 2018, Rs 1,488 crore has been paid through DBT to 57 lakh TB infected under this scheme.

Apart from all this, the TB eradication program is now going to start the Community Support Initiative. Under this, cooperatives, corporate houses, public representatives, NGOs and political parties will get an opportunity to adopt district and block in the campaign of eradication of TB. Its objective will be to encourage people from different sections of the society to come forward to help TB patients. This will help TB infected people to recover from the disease physically and mentally.

TB patients need such support as they require regular care in addition to strictly anti-TB medicines during TB treatment. The initiative will also aim to build a sense of solidarity in the tough fight against TB. Those who wish to help can choose any one area of ​​their choice and convenience in nutrition, testing and vocational training. This help will also be available to the family members of the infected with immediate effect. Such initiatives can provide people with appropriate resources to fight this disease.

This sense of collectivism is also in line with the ideals of the mass movement against TB. The campaign to make India TB-free was started in 2020, which for the first time called for a mass movement against TB. The objective of this campaign was to create more awareness about TB, remove the stigma attached to the disease and bring all available TB services under the National TB Elimination Programme. I am confident that as more and more people from different backgrounds join the movement along with corporate representatives, elected public representatives and other influential community representatives, we will end TB. TB will lose, the country will win.

(The author is the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Government of India)

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are those of the author.

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