PM sets 2025 deadline to free India from TB

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed confidence that India would achieve the goal of complete elimination of Tuberculosis by 2025. "Even if incidence decline rate is increased, elimination of TB from the face of the earth is not expected before 2100", said Rajendra Prasad from the Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Era's Lucknow Medical College and Hospital.

Highlighting that most of TB's victims are poor, the PM said that the measures taken to eliminate TB will have a bearing on the lives of the poor. "Every step taken towards eradicating the disease is directly connected to their lives", Mr Modi added.

He said, it will take researchers a long time to understand how, under the influence of Prime Minister Modi's aspirational drive, the people of the country, primarily the youth have successfully risen above the age-old constraints of caste, creed or religion and have instead come together with a common objective of building a "New India". He said he had personally written to all Chief Ministers to join this campaign.

India has the highest burden of tuberculosis in the world-each year, 29 lakh new cases of TB are reported; 4.20 lakh people, mostly poor, are known to die of the disease.

The Delhi "End TB summit" is being hosted by the Indian Health Ministry, WHO and the Stop TB Partnership. It aims at 95% reduction by 2035 in the number of TB deaths compared with 2015, 90% reduction by 2035 in the TB incidence rate compared with 2015 and Zero TB-affected families facing catastrophic costs due to TB by 2035.The strategy also sets interim milestones for 2020, 2025 and 2030 as the United Nations sustainable development goals include ending the TB epidemic by 2030.

He also invoked cooperative federalism as a way to counter the disease.

Increasingly, the world was seeing an unprecedented political commitment to end TB, which, he said, was the key to its successful eradication.

"India is determined to address the challenge of TB in mission mode".

With the funding of over Rs 12,000 crore over the next 3 years, the motto of the NSP is to ensure every TB patient has access to quality diagnosis, treatment, and support.

Vanessa Coleman