India is determined to eliminate TB by 2025, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday at the launch of ‘TB-free panchayat campaign’ along with several other initiatives. He said that India would achieve this target, five years ahead of schedule globally.
In the year 2022, 24.2 lakh cases of TB were reported in India, which was 13 percent more than in 2021. In this way, there were 172 TB patients per one lakh population. This year also 7.30 lakh cases of TB have been observed which is quite high.
Whereas in 2022, there were about 63,801 patients of Multi Drug Resistant (MDR-TB). Further, the Probable TB Testing Rate (PTBER) is 1,281 per one lakh population in 2022. This is 68% more than the 763 TB tests per one lakh population in 2021.
Prime Minister Modi said that the commitment and resolve shown by India to tackle TB since 2014 is unprecedented. He said that this effort of India is important as it is a new model in the global war against TB. He also discussed in detail the multipronged approach against TB in the last nine years.
The Prime Minister referred to people’s participation, enhancing nutrition, innovation in treatment modalities, technology integration and initiatives such as Fit India, Yoga and Khelo India to promote wellness and prevent diseases.
Talking about the TB-free panchayat campaign that started on Friday, the Prime Minister emphasized that now the government is starting treatment in 3 months instead of 6 months. He told that earlier patients had to take medicine daily for six months, but now as per the new system, they will have to take medicine only once a week.
A senior official of the Central TB Department told BLiTZ that this is for those (family members of patients) who are at high risk of contracting the disease.
Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) lead drug for the treatment of MDR-TB is set to expire in July. The Indian Patent Office on Thursday rejected the application of the US pharmaceutical giant, which is trying to extend its monopoly on the leading TB drug bedaquiline. Now many generic drug manufacturers can make its cheap drug, which costs $ 340 i.e. Rs 27,200 for a six-month dose.
A government official told that the government buys bedaquiline according to the requirement. After the patent expires, the cost of procurement can also be reduced, which will give a boost to the country’s TB eradication program. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also emphasized that the main challenge for TB patients is nutrition and the Ni-Kshaya Mitra campaign has helped TB patients. The Center has transferred Rs 2,000 crore to the accounts of TB patients under the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme since 2018, benefiting around 75 lakh patients.
The Prime Minister underlined that it is difficult to reach new solutions while working with old methods, hence the government has devised new strategies so that the treatment of TB patients does not stop. He also mentioned the launch of ‘Ayushman Bharat Yojana’ for testing and treatment of TB, increasing the number of testing laboratories in the country and formulating special policies focused on cities with high TB patients.
In the year 2022, India conducted 1.39 crore sputum tests and 58 lakh nucleic acid amplification tests (NATs) for TB diagnosis. The TB Prevention Treatment (TPT) workforce has expanded in the year 2022. As per the national guidelines by the end of 2022, TPT has been expanded to 722 districts (94%) of the country while TB infection (TBI) testing centers have been established in 246 districts (32%).
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