Efforts of Collaboration to Combat TB in South-East Asia Region Emphasized at Ministerial Meeting


The Union Health Minister of India delivered a keynote address at the Ministerial meeting – “Sustain, Accelerate, and Innovate to End TB in the South-East Asia Region.” During the meeting, co-chaired by the Director-General of WHO, and attended by various dignitaries, the importance of collective and collaborative efforts within South-East Asian countries to combat tuberculosis (TB) was highlighted.

Health Ministers from Member States of the WHO South-East Asia Region, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, were present, either in person or through recorded messages. The meeting also saw the signing of the Gandhinagar Declaration, a joint commitment by the Health Ministers and WHO SEARO to intensify efforts to end TB by 2030.

Collaboration for TB Eradication:

The Union Health Minister emphasized the importance of collective efforts to combat TB in the South-East Asia Region. He praised India’s commitment to eliminate TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global Sustainable Development Goals. India has achieved a 13% reduction in TB incidence and a 15% decrease in mortality from 2015 to 2022. He also mentioned the ‘RATION’ trail, which highlights the role of nutrients in reducing TB mortality and incidence.

India has implemented various measures to eliminate TB and reduce stigma, including a family-centric care model and the ‘Ni-kshay Mitras’ community engagement mechanism. The ‘Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana’ provides monthly nutritional support to TB patients through Direct Benefit Transfer.

Global Recognition:

Director-General of WHO commended India’s leadership and efforts to end TB. He applauded India’s innovative approach, multi-sector partnerships, and funding for TB eradication, which has inspired other countries. While acknowledging that global health crises, such as the pandemic, have posed challenges, he believes that the goal of eliminating TB by 2030 is still attainable.

He stressed the importance of new tools, technologies, and treatment regimens that are people-centered and accessible at the community level. Additionally, he highlighted the revolutionary reduction in TB testing and treatment times.

A Comprehensive Approach:

The Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, shared best practices implemented in India to combat TB. He emphasized expanding prevention interventions, involving the community, decentralized TB services, and the use of technology and innovation.

The Director, WHO SEARO stressed the need for sustainable domestic resources, active engagement with TB-affected communities, and access to new TB tools and technologies. She called for high-level multisectoral commissions on TB and urged leaders to accelerate momentum to end TB.

WHO Regional Director for Europe highlighted the revolutionary progress in TB treatment, including reduced testing and treatment times.

The meeting brought together various stakeholders, including government officials, WHO representatives, health organizations, academics, civil society organizations, and partner countries’ high-level representatives. It underscored the urgent need for collaborative and sustained efforts to eradicate TB from the South-East Asia Region by 2030.

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