A 'TB-Free India' is only possible if 'we have the participation of all the key stakeholders', says Kavita Ayyagari, director of The Union
TCI Foundation signed LoI with the Union South-East Asia Office and Central TB Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India to work jointly for the Call to Action for TB Free India Campaign.
The LoI on behalf of TCI Foundation was signed by Dr Munish Chander, Head- TCI Foundation, and Dr Jamhoih Tonsing, Regional Director, The Union South-East Asia, in the presence of D.P. Agarwal, Vice Chairman and Managing Director-TCI Group.
The program is aligned with the End TB Strategy that looks to reduce death due to TB by 95% (base year 2015) and aims at a 90% reduction in TB incidence rate and zero affected families facing catastrophic costs due to TB by 2035.
The vision of the End TB Strategy is a world free of TB: Zero TB deaths, Zero TB Disease, and Zero TB suffering.
Speaking on the occasion, Kavita Ayyagari, director of The Union, said a "TB-Free India" is only possible if "we have the participation of all the key stakeholders" in creating awareness and to deliver integrated patient-centred care and support with intensified research and innovation in the area of TB.
The Union, through the Challenge TB is expected to contribute to TB control efforts in India through the "Call to Action for TB-Free India" initiative.
Agarwal expressed his concerns about the continuously increasing number of tuberculosis cases in India.
He asserted that TB treatment to the underprivileged communities should be given utmost priority by all levels of government and the communities. The corporates should come forward to contribute in the reduction of dreaded disease. He said, if no string efforts are made to control the disease, the outbreak of TB may prove just too costly for the country to deal with.
There is tremendous momentum from all corners of the world but despite this momentum, multi-drug resistance tuberculosis (MDR-TB) still affects half a million people worldwide each year, said Chander.
He elaborated that it is a public health concern where many of the people with the disease are never diagnosed, continuing to transmit within their communities and suffer from their illness.
MDR-TB wreaks havoc, not only on individual health and livelihoods but on families too, throwing them deeper into poverty when patients are relied on for financial support.
Spread silently through the air from one person to another, TB is a human tragedy that should be controlled with the united efforts of all, because properly managed MDR-TB can be cured. On the other hand, poorly managed TB can evolve into a form that resists multiple drugs, requiring long and expensive treatment with marginal results.