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JP Nadda addresses WHO Regional Health Ministers’ Meeting on TB

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Highlights the achievements of India in containing TB

JP Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare recently addressed WHO Regional Health Ministers’ Meeting on TB in New Delhi. Health Ministers from WHO South East Asia Region and Western Pacific Region countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, South Korea, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and TimorLeste took part in the meeting. Also present were delegates from WHO South-East Asia Region (SEAR) countries, representatives of NGOs and development partners and other senior officers of the health ministry.

Nadda said, “My government has committed itself to the high-impact actions required for eliminating TB by 2025 and will be reinforcing the implementation of our national efforts so that we succeed.” The Health Minister reaffirmed India’s commitment in the global collective efforts towards combating TB and stated that India will be remembered for suggesting new breakthroughs aimed at ending TB in the eleven countries of WHO South-East Asia Region (SEAR) through renewed political and financial commitment and enhanced regional cooperation.

Nadda pointed out that the WHO South-East Asia Region is disproportionately affected by the problem of tuberculosis. Drug resistant TB is a larger problem affecting our population and significantly contributing to the morbidity and mortality. “Each country in the region is having unique and diverse challenges. We, in the region can share our experiences, success stories and strategies to effectively counter the menace of tuberculosis,” Nadda added.

Appreciating WHO’s role in regional learning and innovation and promoting South to South collaboration in fighting the disease together, the Union Health Minister urged WHO to include TB in its global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery, and development of new antibiotics.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, stated that TB is the leading cause of death in the region and 15-49 years age group is most affected. She further said that TB and HIV affect people in their most productive years causing severe economic loss and endurable suffering. She further stated that there is an urgent need to position TB as a key national health and development issue. This will also require tackling poverty and deprivation and corresponding investment in next ten years.”

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