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India implementing largest digital programme for TB surveillance: Experts at NHWIC-2024

Experts discuss the latest innovations, challenges, & collaborative solutions in the fight against TB at NHWIC-2024 held at AIIMS, Delhi

India has made significant progress in scaling up molecular diagnostics and is implementing the largest digital programme for TB surveillance and monitoring, an official said during a convention for health writers in the national capital.

Experts discussed the latest innovations, challenges, and collaborative solutions in the fight against TB at the National Health Writers and Influencers Convention (NHWIC-2024) held at AIIMS, Delhi.

Even though tuberculosis (TB) is one of the leading causes of death and disability in India, affecting millions of people every year, doctors say the disease is not a death sentence and can be treated with proper treatment.

Dr Sanjay K Mattoo, Additional Deputy Director General, Central TB Division, NTEP, Union Health Ministry gave an overview of the NTEP and its aims and challenges at the event. NTEP or National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme aims to end TB by 2025.

Mattoo said, “India has made significant progress in scaling up molecular diagnostics, providing the most advanced medicines, and implementing the largest digital programme for TB surveillance and monitoring.”

He also mentioned various collaborations and partnerships that the NTEP has forged with other ministries, such as labour, HRD, the railways, and with civil society and private sector organisations, to reach out to more TB patients and provide them with quality care and support.

He also cited the Aarogya Saathi app, which provides information and counselling to patients, and the Nikshay Poshan Yojana, which transfers money directly to the patient’s bank accounts as government initiatives that empower TB patients.

Healthcare experts, policymakers, researchers, and practitioners from the healthcare landscape attended the eighth edition of the event, organised by the HEAL Foundation at AIIMS hospital.

Experts highlighted that there were still many gaps and barriers that hinder the effective diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of TB, especially for drug-resistant TB (DRTB), which is harder to cure and more contagious.

Dr Rupak Singla, Head of Department of TB & Chest Disease, NITRD, highlighted the importance of early and accurate diagnosis of TB, the availability of new drug regimens, and the use of digital technology for TB management.

Hadda said, “Since TB is a disease of the poor and the marginalised, addressing the social and economic factors that make people vulnerable to TB is also essential for its elimination.”

 

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