Health Ministry signs MoUs with three Ministries for enhanced cooperation to end TB by 2025

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Ministry of Health and Family Welfare today exchanged Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with the Ministry of AYUSH, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Railways to strengthen inter-ministerial coordination and efforts towards Tuberculosis-free India by 2025.Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare presided over theMoU exchange ceremony in presence ofShriShripadYessoNaik, Union Minister of State for AYUSH (I/C) and Minister of State for Defence andShriAshwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State (HFW).

Speaking at the function, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that under the inspirational and visionary leadership of Prime Minister, ShriNarendraModiji, the government has announced to the world of our commitments and intentions to end TB by 2025, a good five years ahead of the global targets. “I am sure that the integrated and multi-sectoral approach will galvanize support and commitment from key stakeholders and seek for their contribution towards India’s aim of ending TB Free 2025,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

The Union Health Minister further said that ‘multisectoral action’ is one of the key strategies which makes a strong case for transforming India’s TB elimination efforts from a siloed health sector response to a holistic approach. Citing the example of polio to highlight multi-sectoral approach, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that TB is not only a medical problem, it has social dimensions and needs to be addressed through multi-sectoral approach.  “All of us can be leaders to end TB in our own capacities.I believe that together we will be able to develop new approaches to combat such threats to our health and society,” he added.

Dr Harsh Vardhan further said that through the Inter-ministerial Coordination the aim is to reach key populations served by various Ministries such as workers, miners, migrants, tribal population, women and children etc, and develop a social movement for collective efforts and create a ‘Jan Andolan’ by every section of the Society for Ending TB in India.

ShriShripadYessoNaik, Union Minister of State for AYUSH (I/C) and Minister of State for Defence stated that the MoU will help in development of linkages and integration of TB care services under the health infrastructure and institutional network affiliated with the Ministry of AYUSH. He further said that the MoU will enhanceawareness generation and sensitization among various communities including AYUSH service providers about RNTCP guidelines, TB diagnosis & treatment and recent policy changes and initiatives.

ShriAshwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State (HFW) stressed on the need for coordinated action for eliminating TB and highlighted the importance of awareness generation. ShriChoubey alsothanked and congratulated the ministries and emphasised the importance for such joint efforts for other national programmes as well.

The MoU between Ministry of Health and Ministry of Ayush was exchanged by Ms Preeti Sudan, Secreatry (HFW) and ShriVaidyaKotecha, Secretary (AYUSH). ShriVikasSheel, Joint Secretary (HFW) exchanged the MoUs with Dr K Sridhar, Executive Director (Railways) and Col Bal Singh Sisodia (Defence) respectively.

Although entirely preventable and curable, Tuberculosis is a major obstacle to India’s human and economic development. India,in near future, is predicted to have world’s largest working population and a disease like TB which mostly affects adults in their most productive years, poses a great risk to the country’s economic growth potential. Apart from being a public health problem, TB is also associated with poor socio-economic development, marginalization and exploitation. The actions required to tackle the socio-economic and structural determinants of TB lie beyond the purview of the health sector alone, calling for a harmonized multisectoral response.