New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) Urging united action the a gropup of Members of Parliament (MPs) met here to build a sustained political response to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) from India.
The meeting, held on Monday, was meant to seek the parliamentarians’ commitment to form an India TB Caucus that would catalyse a truly robust and sustainable political response to the global disease.
“Many people who have TB do not know they are suffering from this disease. The parliamentarians have a major role to play in the fight against TB, as they can reach out to people in their constituencies,” said Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, in a statement.
For many years, TB, and more recently Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), has imposed a significant physical, emotional and economic burden on patients, their families and the society.
The estimated number of MDR-TB cases in 2014 among notified pulmonary TB cases were 71,000, as per the World Health Organisation’s Global TB Report – 2015.
“TB is a time bomb that is ticking and is ready to explode. Access to quality treatment and reducing the incidence of TB and especially MDR-TB are areas that need to be addressed urgently,” added C K Misra, Secretary Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
“The government is working towards this by changing the treatment method to daily regimen starting in 104 districts in Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Kerala and Bihar and will later be provided all over the country,” Misra stated while apprising the MPs on the situation of TB in India and the efforts being made by the government.
Chaired by Kurien, the meeting was attended by the MPs from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telengana, Uttrakhand and West Bengal, among others.
Representatives from the MoHFW, USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and the Union and Civil Society Organisations, also took part in the meeting which deliberated on key issues of treatment and what could be done to make India TB-Free.