Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on March 25 said India is ready to lead from the front and be the voice of the Global South in the collaborative fight against tuberculosis (TB). He also emphasied on developing TB vaccines, saying it was the need of the hour.
“We have seen the unwavering commitment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end TB in India. We are ready to lead from the front and be voice of the Global South in the collaborative fight against TB,” Mr. Mandaviya said during an address to the 36th board meeting of Stop TB Partnership at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
He said India has identified three important health priorities under the G20 Presidency. “All of these are focussed on universal health coverage and relevant to our response for TB elimination,” the Health Minister added.
“A lot of exceptional work is being done at the ground level through innovation in case finding, mathematical modelling, digital interventions and surveillance. India would be happy to share technical assistance with other countries to replicate such good practices,” the Minister said.
Mr. Mandaviya emphasised that efforts are on not only to rebound from COVID-19 but also bring innovative strategies such as the ‘Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan’, which has become a one-of-a-kind movement in the world. He added that it is a call to action to mobilise communities to end TB.
Highlighting the crucial importance of the TB vaccine in the global fight against the disease, the Health Minister urged the Stop TB Partnership Board to deliberate on this and take up this matter at the UN high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage in September this year. “TB vaccine is needed urgently”, he emphasised.
“It is also important to fast-track its development, expand the manufacturing capacities and help countries in its easy access,” Mr. Mandaviya noted.
Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of STOP TB Partnership, emphasised that “India has a pivotal role in eliminating TB because its progress will drive the world.” She also praised India for “doing very sophisticated modelling with its Ni-kshay data.” “The innovations, ideas and strategies for bringing healthcare closer to people is something that the whole world can emulate,” she stated. The Stop TB Partnership Board appreciated India’s estimation of TB burden developed with in-country evidence.
An “Accountability Report of TB-affected Communities and Civil Society: Priorities to Close the Deadly Divide” was also launched at the event.