India to introduce indigenous TB infection skin test 'c-TB'

by IANS |

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Starting later this year, the Union government will introduce a newly approved 'Made in India' tuberculosis (TB) infection skin test called 'c-TB', Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced on Thursday in the national capital.

Mandaviya said this cost-effective tool will be of immense benefit to other high burden countries as well.

He was addressing the 35th board meeting of the "Stop TB Partnership" through video-conferencing in Delhi.

Highlighting the severe impact of Covid-19 pandemic on TB programmes in high burden countries, the Union Health Minister said several new initiatives have been taken in the country to turn the crisis into an opportunity under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Several health initiatives have been taken such as 'abidirectional testing' of TB with Covid, house-to-house TB detection campaigns, scaling up of rapid molecular diagnostics at sub-district levels, use of artificial intelligence and digital tools, Jan Andolan and most importantly, decentralisation of TB services to Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres as part of comprehensive primary healthcare.

Mandaviya also informed that a new initiative "Adopt people with TB" will be launched this year based on Indian values of collectivism which will urge corporates, industries, organisations, political parties and individuals to come forward and adopt TB infected people and families, and provide them with nutritional and social support.

"We are also actively involving elected representatives in India like the Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assemblies in the states, members of urban local bodies and panchayat representatives at the grassroots level in raising awareness and advocating for TB across the country," the Union Minister said.

Underlining that 2022 is a target year for many of the commitments made in the UN High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) of 2018, Mandaviya stressed on discussing bold and ambitious commitments in this board meeting for the upcoming UNHLM of TB in 2023.

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