Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Monday expressed confidence that the government will achieve the goal of tuberculosis (TB) free India by 2025 as resource allocation for the disease has witnessed a four-fold increase in the last five years. Vardhan made these remarks while virtually addressing the inaugural session of the two-day Public Health Conference by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
“This pandemic has given us a chance to revisit and structurally re-imagine a robust public health infrastructure for our country. The country’s capacity to turn government schemes into a broader social movement that saw the complete eradication of smallpox and polio from a time when India contributed 60 percent of the global cases of polio gives me hope that the Prime’s Ministers goal of a tuberculosis free India by 2025 would be similarly achieved with the help of industry leaders and the CII,” Vardhan said. “Resource allocation for TB in India has witnessed a four-fold increase in the last five years. The Prime Minister had initiated a big survey for the detection of TB cases upon taking office in 2014 itself. Every patient of TB and even those with multi-drug resistant TB are treated free as the entire cost is borne by the government while doctors are incentivized to report TB cases,” he added.
On the ‘TB Free Workplaces’ campaign, Vardhan said, “India with nearly 26.4 lakh tuberculosis cases continues to have the largest share of the global TB burden. The economic burden of TB is huge in terms of lives, money, and workdays lost as it disproportionately affects the poor who live in unsanitary conditions and are deprived of calories”. The Union Health Minister expressed confidence that the government’s boost to health infrastructure through the Ayushman Bharat scheme would similarly eradicate diseases like Kala-azar and leprosy and push the maternal mortality rate to near zero.
Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Member (Health) NITI Aayog Dr. Vinod K. Paul also participated digitally. A virtual exhibition on healthcare and the “CII TB Free Workplaces Campaign” was launched and the “CII Public Health Report” was released in their presence. Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences in his capacity as Chairman – CII Public Health Council and Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) were also digitally present on the occasion.