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IANS

President Draupadi Murmu on Friday launched an anti-TB campaign and exhorted the people to unitedly strive towards eradicating Tuberculosis (TB) from the country by 2025.

"When a welfare scheme is made in the interest of people, chances of its success increase manifold", said the President while launching the 'Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan' campaign.

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 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.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Minister of State for Health Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar were present at the launch event along with Union Ministers, Governors and Lt. Governors, State Health Ministers and other dignitaries.

The virtual event, also attended by state and district health administrations, representatives from corporates, industries, civil society, NGOs, and TB Champions, reiterated India's commitment to eliminate the high-burden infectious disease by 2025, five years ahead of the global goal of 2030.

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 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.

President Murmu 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 the 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.

Speaking on the occasion, 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 emphasised 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.

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.

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