NEW DELHI: The President of India Droupadi Murmu has urged citizens to work collectively towards TB elimination in spirit of Jan Bhaagidari on a war footing as she launched the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan.
“When a welfare scheme is made in interest of people, its chances of success increase manifold,” she said.
The President also launched the Ni-kshay Mitra initiative to ensure additional diagnostic, nutritional, and vocational support to those on TB treatment, and encouraged elected representatives, corporates, NGOs, and individuals to come forward as donors to help the patients complete their journey towards recovery.
The Ni-kshay 2.0 portal (https://communitysupport.nikshay.in/) will facilitate in providing additional patient support to improve treatment outcome of TB patients, augmenting community involvement in meeting India’s commitment to end TB by 2025 and leveraging Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) opportunities.
The virtual launch event showcased India’s accelerated progress through the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) owing to commitment at the highest levels. At the ceremony, the President of India appreciated the tireless efforts of the healthcare workers, community leaders, and citizens for managing the COVID-19 pandemic and underlined the need to adopt a similar whole-of-society approach to eliminate TB from the country.
The President reiterated the goal of universal health coverage ensuring no one is left behind in accessing affordable quality healthcare through all levels of the health system. Highlighting the progress made through the Ayushman Bharat scheme in this endeavour, she expressed confidence in pivotal role of the strengthened healthcare system in achieving TB elimination goals.
She stressed on enhanced awareness regarding the treatment for TB, a curable disease. The treatment is available free of cost at government health facilities.
President also highlighted the need to collectively fight the stigma attached with the disease.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya stated that “the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan is an extension of Prime Minister’s citizen- centric policies”. He attributed success of the TB programme on key indicators such as TB case notifications and consistent efforts that led to monthly notification reporting to reach pre-pandemic levels by end of 2021.
The Union Health Minister emphasized that a 360-degree approach is the cornerstone of TB elimination in India and observed that a societal approach that brings together people from all backgrounds into a Jan Andolan is needed to achieve the ambitious target of eliminating TB by 2025.
Dr. Mandaviya informed that there are roughly 13.5 lakh TB patients registered in the Nikshay portal, out of which 8.9 lakh active TB patients have given their consent for adoption. The Ni-kshay digital portal will provide a platform for community support for persons with TB.
He urged all citizens, NGOs, corporate houses, elected representatives etc, to support the movement by becoming Ni-kshay Mitras and convene gatherings to discuss the initiative, so no one with TB is left behind.
Highlighting the importance of a patient-centric healthcare system, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya lauded the contribution of supportive schemes such as the Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana, which provides Rs. 500 through DBT to those on TB treatment as nutritional support.
He appreciated the diverse patient support programs operated by the States to address the socio-economic impact of TB. He also called upon the elected representatives, leaders of the corporate world, and other influential community voices to join the Jan Andolan for TB elimination by extending nutritional, diagnostic, and vocational support to people on TB treatment.
The National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP), previously known as Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), aims to strategically reduce TB burden in India by 2025, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2020, the RNTCP was renamed as the National TB Elimination Program (NTEP) to emphasize the aim of the Government of India to eliminate TB in India by 2025.
It reached over a billion people in 632 districts/reporting units and is responsible for carrying out the Government of India’s five-year National Strategic Plans for TB elimination along with the States/UTs.
The National Strategic Plan for TB Elimination was launched to achieve the target of ending TB by 2025 in a mission mode. It is a multi-pronged approach which aims to detect all TB patients with an emphasis on reaching TB patients seeking care from private providers and undiagnosed TB in high-risk populations.
In 2021, India notified 21 lakh TB cases, successfully bridging the gaps between estimated number of cases and those that were recorded on the Ni-kshay portal previously.
A range of forward-looking policies have been implemented including critical schemes such as Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana (NPY), which helped meet the nutritional requirements of TB patients, especially the underserved. From 2018 till present, around ₹1,707 crore has been disbursed to more than 65 lakh people on TB treatment across the country.
As part of engaging the private sector, Patient Provider Support Agencies (PPSA) have been rolled out across 250 districts through the domestic setup and JEET initiative, leading to 32% of all TB patients being notified from the private sector.
Building on Universal Drug Susceptibility Testing (UDST) for all diagnosed TB cases the programme has added 3,760 NAAT machines across the country till 2021 ensuring that patients are diagnosed with drug-resistant TB at the very outset and are put on correct treatment plans on a timely basis.
Over 1,50,000 Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres will be established by December 2022 to decentralize comprehensive primary healthcare including TB care services at the grassroots level.
The programme also initiated strategies to engage the community and create a Jan Andolan against TB. The program has identified more than 12,000 TB champions to reach out to the underserved and marginalized and support patients in accessing care.
The programme is also supporting creation of Patient Support Groups (PSGs) to facilitate conversations between patients, doctors and their caregivers to address common issues in treatment.