Dr Harsh Vardhan

COVID learning – focus on health infra

TB continues to be big drain on health, workday loss

The COVID pandemic has given us a chance to revisit and structurally re-imagine a robust public health infrastructure for our country, says Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan”

NEW DELHI, Aug 19, 2020 (BNC Network): Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, has said that the COVID pandemic “has given us a chance to revisit and structurally re-imagine a robust public health infrastructure for our country.”

Citing India’s successful approach in containing and curing this novel health risk, he lauded the country’s capacity to turn government schemes into a broader social movement that saw “the complete eradication of small-pox and polio from a time when India contributed 60% of the global cases of polio.”

He was presiding over the inaugural session of the two-day CII Public Health Conference virtually on Monday. A virtual exhibition on Healthcare and the “CII TB Free Workplaces Campaign” were launched and the “CII Public Health Report” was released.

The Minister expressed hope that “the Prime’s Ministers goal of a tuberculosis free India by 2025 would be achieved with the help of industry leaders and the CII.

Recollecting his experience as the health minister of NCT of Delhi when he organized a campaign to eradicate polio with meagre funds but with the full backing and enthusiasm of prominent leaders of the industry, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that he has been witnessing “the same enthusiasm and commitment in eradicating tuberculosis bacilli from the country.”

On the TB Free Workplaces campaign, Dr Harsh Vardhan, that “India with nearly 26.4 lakh Tuberculosis cases continues to have the largest share of the global TB burden. The economic burden of TB is huge in terms of lives, money and workdays lost as it disproportionately affects the poor who live in insanitary conditions and are deprived of calories”. He pointed out that resource allocation for TB in India has witnessed a fourfold increase in the last five years. The Prime Minister had initiated a big survey for detection of TB cases upon taking office in 2014 itself. Every patient of TB and even those with multi-drug resistant TB are treated free as the entire cost is borne by the government while doctors are incentivized to report TB cases, he explained.

The Union Health Minister expressed confidence that the government’s boost to health infrastructure through Ayushman Bharat scheme would similarly eradicate diseases like Kala-azar and Leprosy and push the Maternal Mortality Rate to near zero.

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry emphasized that the organisation’s public health agenda will be the highest on the list, and we will work together and meet the huge challenge in front of us. It is not appropriate to expect everything to be done by the government, we expect participation and collaboration from other stakeholders, and this is where CII can come in and contribute to the development of the sector

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