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Health Minister Harsh Vardhan determined to end TB in India by 2020

Written by Editorial Team |Published : October 29, 2014 12:05 PM IST

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan was in Barcelona, Spain to address the World health Organisation's Global TB symposium on Tuesday. In his speech, he outlined the situation of India and its efforts against tuberculosis (TB), and emphasised that he is determined to put an end to the disease by the year 2020.

'I am a man in a hurry. While I am all for having a long-term perspective, I am not interested in something that may or may not be achieved in 2035 or 2050,' Harsh Vardhan said, while delivering the keynote address at the Symposium. The Minister announced how the 'TB-Mission 2020' is evolving with concerted efforts of the officials to achieve considerable success over the next five years. In his view, he added, a distant target date would not demand of his team the kind of accountability that would be naturally ensured if the objective is brought forward. (Read: Ten facts you didn t know about tuberculosis). Here are some goals of TB mission 2020 he explained.

  • The government has put TB control measures in top gear, with the country going into 'intensive mission mode', which is playing out at the micro levels of the nation, involving local self-government bodies and voluntary sector activists.
  • India is also in the process of ensuring free diagnosis and treatment to all TB patients irrespective of it being a government or private hospital.
  • Steps are underway to ensure that patients are provided with nutrition support and relevant financial enablers. (Read: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan leaves for WHO symposium on TB in Spain)
  • 'TB is the by-product of poverty. I strongly believe that TB control should be taken up by all as a development issue. The responsibility of TB control needs to move from doctors to medical administrators and politicians. That I wear all these hats is pure coincidence and, indeed, an opportunity to lessen the suffering of mankind,' said the minister.

Later, Dr Harsh Vardhan was joined by the Health Minister of South Africa, Aaron Motsoaledi. Both the leaders had a one-on-one meeting on the sidelines of the conference and decided that TB control would dominate the agenda of the upcoming meeting of BRICS Health Minister s in December this year. (Read: How you can prevent tuberculosis)

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Here are some ways to prevent tuberculosis.

1. Vaccination: All new born and infants should be given the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine to protect them against TB. The vaccine enables the child to develop antibodies against the causative organism (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) of TB.

2. Keep your immunity high: Most of you might have come in contact with TB bacilli but have not developed the disease because of protection offered by vaccination you received in childhood. However, the vaccine cannot provide life-long protection. That s why people with a lowered immunity are at a higher risk of infection. Therefore, a healthy lifestyle is important to prevent TB. Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Eat a complete meal that includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Quit smoking and drinking alcohol, exercise regularly and stay fit. Read more about 5 ways to prevent tuberculosis

With inputs from ANI

Photo source: Getty images

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