TB elimination by 2025: Inter-ministerial MoU signed for enhanced cooperation

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 18th July 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

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The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan along with the Minister of State for AYUSH (Independent Charge) and Defence, Shripad Yesso Naik and the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey witnessing the signing ceremony of MoUs between Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of AYUSH, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Railways, in New Delhi on July 18, 2019.

New Delhi: In a huge step towards strengthening the inter-ministerial coordination and efforts towards Tuberculosis-free India by 2025, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 18th July exchanged Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with the Ministry of AYUSH, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Railways.

Speaking at the function, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that under the inspirational and visionary leadership of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, 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.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare presided over the MoU exchange ceremony in presence of Mr Shripad Yesso Naik, Union Minister of State for AYUSH (I/C) and Minister of State for Defence and Mr Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State (HFW).

Mr Shripad Yesso Naik, 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 enhance awareness generation and sensitization among various communities including AYUSH service providers about RNTCP guidelines, TB diagnosis & treatment and recent policy changes and initiatives.

Mr Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State (HFW) stressed on the need for coordinated action for eliminating TB and highlighted the importance of awareness generation. Mr Choubey also thanked and congratulated the ministries and emphasized 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, Secretary (HFW) and Mr Vaidya Kotecha, Secretary (AYUSH). Mr Vikas Sheel, 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 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 multi-sectoral response.