President Murmu to launch anti-TB campaign on Friday

To achieve the goal of tuberculosis elimination by 2025, the government will launch the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan on Friday, which is aimed at providing community support to those suffering from the disease.

Under the campaign, people and institutions can adopt blocks, districts or even an individual patient and provide nutritional and treatment support.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call given at the Delhi End TB Summit in March 2018 to eliminate the disease from the country five years ahead of the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) target of 2030, President Droupadi Murmu will virtually launch the campaign on Friday.

The president will also launch the “Ni-kshay Mitra” initiative that forms a vital component of the campaign. The Ni-kshay 2.0 portal provides a platform to the donors to provide various forms of support to those undergoing TB treatment. The governors and lieutenant governors of the states and Union territories, along with state officials, will also be urged to take the campaign forward.

The four-pronged support includes nutritional, additional diagnostic, additional nutritional supplements and vocational support. The donors, called Ni-kshay Mitras, could be a wide range of stakeholders from elected representatives, political parties to corporates, NGOs, institutions and individuals.

According to official sources, of the total 13,51,611 TB patients presently on treatment in the country, 8,95,119 had given their consent to be adopted till September 7.

Under the programme, a monthly food basket comprising 3 kg of rice, 1.5 kg of pulses, 250 grams of vegetable cooking oil and 1 kg of milk powder or six litres of milk or 1 kg of groundnut has been recommended for each tuberculosis patient. Thirty eggs can also be added to the basket, according to an official source.

“In addition to nutritional support, the donor organisation or individual may also provide vocational support, additional diagnostic help or nutritional supplements containing B complex vitamins, vitamin C and minerals,” the source said.

The minimum period of commitment for providing additional support to a TB patient shall be one year, he said, adding that there are options of a support programme for two and three years.

The campaign would be an expansion of the Union health ministry’s focus on the eradication of tuberculosis by ramping up community support.

Those interested in participating in the programme can register on the Ni-Kshay 2.0 portal — — and fill in their names, contact details, the type and duration of support and the geographic area where they want to provide the support, following which a unique ID will be generated.

An e-mail with the contact details of the district TB officers and details of the Ni-kshay Mitra will be sent to the DTO to facilitate the discussion, planning and implementation of the support committed.

“The involvement of the community in supporting the treatment cascade shall help in the reduction of stigma and also lead to increased awareness among the public regarding tuberculosis. The improved nutrition for the TB patients shall result in better treatment outcomes. It will also lead to a reduction of the out-of-pocket expenditure for the families of the TB patients,” an official said.