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The TB-Free India Summit brought together celebrities, international experts, members of parliament (MPs) from across party lines, and the media, in the city. The summit and the INDIAvsTB Cricket match are new initiatives to focus attention on ways to increase awareness about the disease, elimination of TB, increase multi-sectoral participation, and encourage greater participation from the private sector. As per WHO's Global TB Report 2016, India accounts for 24 per cent of all TB cases in the world. Almost 5,000 TB deaths are reported globally daily, India alone accounts for an alarming 1,400 such deaths every day. Incidence of TB in India is declining at the rate of about 2 per cent per year and there is a need to accelerate progress to reach the Government's national strategic plan to eliminate tuberculosis by 2025. The key speakers were dignitaries and experts including ShriJ P Nadda, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India; ministers and Shri PK Dhumal, Leader of Opposition, Himachal Pradesh. The Summit was an initiative of Mr Anurag Thakur, MP, Hamirpur and was jointly hosted by HPCA, the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, USAID, Challenge TB, WHO, the Global Fund.
Speaking at the summit, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare,Shri JP Nadda, said, "The government is committed to ending TB by 2025. Today, the RNTCP treats over 10 million TB patients. But meeting the 2025 goal requires us to be aggressive in our approach and have a fresh way of thinking. We must tackle TB head-on, in the public and private sector, and a summit likes this gives us the opportunity to look for new ways to this." Shri PK Dhumal, Leader of Opposition, Himachal Pradesh, added, "I applaud the Prime Minister for having envisioned a TB-Free India by 2025. We have come together at the TB-Free India summit which will serve as a robust roadmap for eliminating TB not only from Himachal but also across the country. A healthy India is my dream for the young people of this country. I pledge my full support for the initiative and encourage the youth to join this initiative. A 'Swasth Bharat is a Strong Bharat'. I congratulate the organizers for their efforts to bring together all stakeholders to do their bit. I pledge my support to eliminating TB by 2025."
Mark A White,Mission Director, USAID India, commented, "We have achieved much and yet how much remains to be done. We have to continue expanding our partnership and deepening our cooperation with stakeholders. We need to keep pushing for innovative solutions and novel approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat TB, even among those who face incredible barriers to accessing quality care. But most importantly, we must continue to remember the people and families affected by TB. Their experiences will guide our way forward."
Jose Luis Castro, Executive Director, The Union, said, "We need innovative and bold solutions to end TB by 2025. Our aim in co-hosting this meeting was to bring together experts and representatives from different sectors to find the approaches to end this epidemic, and discuss how each can contribute to hasten the elimination of TB." MP Anurag Thakur said, "The Indian Parliament for the first time raised the issue of Sustainable Goal 3 which deals with Health and Well-being, this is a major step after the release of the National Health Policy. Parliamentarians are unanimous that we must educate and create awareness about TB. This is the first TB-Free India summit and we will work together to eliminate TB from India. Just last month, this cricket ground witnessed a superb match and victory by our national team. Today, a historic match of another kind will be played. The #INDIAvsTB T-20 cricket match is a new initiative to put the focus on tuberculosis. Regardless of which team wins today, one thing is sure we will bowl out TB. In this match, we're not just 11 players, we are a team of 1.2 billion. TB harega, desh jeetega!"
Aftab Shivdasani added, "I am glad to be a part of the TB-Free India Summit which has been very informative and has helped me understand the magnitude of the problem of TB in our country. It is a curable disease and people should not be discriminated." MPs' XI and Mumbai Heroes pledged their support to the TB-Free India campaign and committed to increase awareness, support for Zero Stigma and Zero discrimination and dedicate their time, energy and resources to ending TB in the Country at the TB-Free India Summit in Dharamshala. The summit ended today with an exciting #INDIAvsTB T-20 cricket match between the MPs' XI team captained by Anurag Thakur and the Mumbai Heroes celebrity team captained by Bobby Deol.
About Challenge TB: Call to Action for a TB-Free India
Challenge TB is the flagship TB control programme of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) has been tasked to implement the Challenge TB project in India through its Union South-East Asia Office in New Delhi. Since its founding in 1920, The Union has drawn from the best scientific evidence and expertise to advance solutions to public health challenges affecting people living in poverty.
Call to Action for a TB-Free India
The Call to Action for a TB-Free India calls for increased efforts to control TB through innovative policies and new strategies to raise awareness and domestic resources to end TB in India. Shri J.P. Nadda, Hon'ble Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, launched the Call to Action for a TB-Free India on 23 April, 2015. The goal of the Call to Action is to increase the visibility of TB and mobilize domestic resources and commitment to end TB in India.
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