President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday underlined the need to build an India free of tuberculosis After successfully eradicating polio.
Participating in the platinum jubilee celebration of the Tuberculosis Association of India and also the inauguration of the 68th national convention on tuberculosis and chest diseases, Pranab said, India has the world’s “highest burden” of tuberculosis and it kills one person every two minutes in the country or almost 750 people daily.
“The Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) has
become one of India’s largest public health achievements. The overall vision of the RNTCP is ‘A TB-free India’. There is compelling evidence now that the tide has, indeed, turned against TB. The number of TB cases has begun to fall, and there are now fewer TB-related deaths each year than previous years,” he said.
Pranab said the endeavor should now be to aim for universal access focusing on improved diagnosis of TB patients through improving outreach, vigorously expanding case-finding efforts among vulnerable sections of the society, deploying better diagnostics, and extending services to patients diagnosed and treated in both the public and private sectors.
“I must also stress no national-level campaign is successful without the active participation of voluntary organisations. The role played by the Tuberculosis Association of India in supplementing the government’s efforts in prevention and control of TB is indeed praiseworthy,” he said.
The President further said: “I would urge all the stakeholders to contribute to this noble cause so that the scourge of tuberculosis ceases to be a public health problem in India and every citizen of our country goes on to become a productive member of society, participating actively in nation building.”