On the eve of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, a candlelight vigil was organised at India Gate today to pay tribute to the nearly 5 lakh lives lost due to the disease last year.
Participants pledged to lent their complete support to achieve India’s goal to eliminate TB by 2025.
“We stand with every TB patient for the trauma and stigma he or she has had to face. This show of strength and solidarity today is a sign of our concerted efforts to fight and end TB in India,” said Blessina Kumar, who leads the Global Coalition of TB Activists.
Participants include members of civil society, policy makers and officials of the health ministry.
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“Only last year there were 28 lakh new TB patients and 79,000 patients of drug-resistant TB, a severe form of the disease which is also more difficult to treat,” a statement said.
To tackle the critical problem of TB in the country, the Government of India’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme will soon be releasing the National Strategic Plan for TB Control (2017-2025) which will pave the way for achieving the elimination goal.
Dalbir Singh, President of the Global Coalition Against TB said, “TB continues to affect the lives of millions of our fellow Indians. We, at the Global Coalition Against TB for the past five years have been working to raise the profile of the disease at the highest political level. It is heartening to see increased political support toward the cause as we work toward eliminating the disease by 2025.”
Earlier in the day, members of Global Coalition Against TB, a forum of Indian policymakers, also met the President Pranab Mukherjee to discuss possible measures of TB control in the country, the statement added.
(With inputs from PTI)