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'Call to Action' launch catalyzes fight against TB

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- Treatment completion is satisfactory -- and matches international cure rates of MDR-TB and XDR-TB;

- To encourage research for new drugs and new drug regimens, in order to achieve better regimens and in short durations;

- To promote indigenous development and manufacture of diagnostic tests under 'Make In India' programme

- There are provisions of comprehensive healthcare for TB patients and we will work out schemes and sensitise patients to help complete treatment. We need to link them with various welfare schemes of government of India so that the earnings of these families increase and that they have nutritional support which will enhance the immunity status of each member of the family."

Sense of urgency

"We need to communicate the sense of urgency to eliminate TB from India, and for that matter, from the world. Tuberculosis is a disease that requires urgent action -- people are dying, families are being destroyed, economies of countries are being crippled, national security of nations is affected by tuberculosis. New challenges have made the fight against TB even more difficult: anti-TB drug resistance, 2-3 times higher TB risk for people with diabetes, rising tobacco use which is a common risk factor for TB and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as well. People with diabetes have 2-3 times higher risk to get TB, tobacco use is a risk for TB, even those who get cured from TB and continue to use tobacco are twice as likely to get TB again. TB requires urgent action. Let everyone know in India that ending TB is an urgency," said Jose Luis Castro, Executive Director, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).

Partnership is key: No one can do it alone!

"TB-Free India is a call to action, it is a shared vision and commitment. It is not just a commitment of government of India, it is a vision of various other stakeholders such as doctors, civil society, corporates, private sector, international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, among others. Government cannot do it alone. Under the umbrella of RNTCP we have formed a task force for call to action for TB-free India. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed USD 4.6 million funding for this initiative, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) will be its secretariat, and MoHFW will lead the task force with the WHO as its technical partner," shared Anshu Prakash, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Anshu Prakash underlined the three pillars of the Call To Action For TB-Free India: "First pillar is advocacy -- for all sectors to get those patients (who are not in the programme) under the programme; second pillar is an effective media and communication campaign -- this money will not be used to buy media space as government does that already, but to make an effective media campaign for TV, radio, print media, social media etc; and third pillar is to reach the corporates and private sector as it is important to involve them in this initiative."

Conviction to end TB is global

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