TB Mukt Bharat: Time Short For Eradication Of Disease By 2025, Says Parliamentary Panel

New Delhi: India has set the target of eliminating TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global deadline of 2030. However,  in its 149th report, the department-related parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare said that it “believes the task at hand is enormous and time is short to meet the 2025 target.” Expressing concerns over “a sense of complacency” within the Union Ministry of Health in implementing the tuberculosis (TB) elimination programme, a parliamentary panel has said that shifting the responsibility to non-governmental organisations “eventually may impede the overall progress” of the programme.

The committee recommended that robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms be implemented to track the progress of TB elimination goals, The New Indian Express (TNIE) reported.

Appreciating the immense potential of the Ni-Kshay Mitra initiative in enhancing TB control efforts in India and alleviating the 58 socio-economic burdens of the disease, the committee, however, said that the Ni-Kshay adoption model alone cannot be considered the mainstay of fighting the disease under the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan (PMTBMBA).

Under the Ni-Kshay Mitra initiative, which was launched by President Droupadi Murmu last year, community support is provided to TB patients so that they can be adopted and cared for by an individual, elected representatives or institutions.

As per the World Health Organisation’s Global TB Report 2022, around one-quarter of the world’s population — 2 billion — is latently infected with tuberculosis, and it is the 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer after Covid-19. India contributes approximately one-fourth to the total international cases, about 25 lakh cases out of 1.05 crore globally.

The panel said that in the last five years, TB has been more commonly seen in the age groups of 15-24 and 25-34 years. As the health of the young population is central to the nation, it suggested that a robust population-based approach be worked out to address their socio-economic conditions, healthy lifestyle and preventive strategies to have a holistic approach to the TB elimination drive, TNIE reported.

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