Prime Minister Narendra Modi may inaugurate the National Tuberculosis (TB) Eradication Programme in Varanasi later this month, News18.com has learnt. The event will take place on World TB Day, March 24, say sources.
“PM Modi is likely to inaugurate the National TB Eradication Programme in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The preparations have begun accordingly but there is a possibility of last-minute changes in the PM’s schedule,” a senior government official said.
The Prime Minister had announced in 2018 that India would totally eliminate TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global deadline set for 2030, and reiterated this while addressing the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York in 2019.
While the final itinerary of the event is still being fine-tuned, the inaugural session will be followed by a meeting of state health ministers with the union minister of health and family welfare, Mansukh Mandaviya.
The event will be attended by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and the governor of the state.
“Site visits are also being planned for all chief guests and top officials. The preparations are on at the health and wellness centres (HWCs) apart from panchayat visits,” the official said.
The next day, in Varanasi, India will also be hosting the board meeting of Stop TB Partnership – a body under the United Nations with its secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Mandaviya is the chair of the board and the meeting will be attended by health ministers from several countries across the globe starting on March 25. It was Mandaviya’s idea to bring the global meeting to Varanasi.
PM could announce two big schemes
The PM is expected to announce the new regimen to prevent latent tuberculosis from getting active. A new initiative called ‘TB Free Panchayat’ has been coined, which is also likely to be rolled out.
While presently India has been monitoring TB cases from the district and block levels, now the government has decided to go even deeper and start monitoring from the level of panchayats in villages.
“There are multiple metrics that have been designed under the initiative. For instance, if a village has a population of 1,000 people, 40 will be screened for TB and this number will keep on increasing with time,” the official said. “Other programs and announcements are also being fine-tuned.”
According to the Global TB Report of 2021, India is the top contributor — at 24% — among the 10 countries that collectively account for 74% of the global gap between estimated tuberculosis incidence and the number of people newly diagnosed with the disease and reported.
India also features on all three World Health Organization global lists of high-burden countries for TB, HIV-associated TB, and multi-drug resistant or rifampicin-resistant TB to be used by the WHO for the period 2021-2025.
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