India: Political parties urged to include TB as critical health issue in election manifestos

CHENNAI: The Partnership for TB Care and Control in India (PTCC), a coalition of over 170 organizations from across the country, has appealed to political parties to include tuberculosis as a critical public health issue in their election manifestos.

The partnership has sent letters and emails to all leading political parties, including the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, drawing attention to the scale of the TB problem.

"With elections less than three months away, this is the right time for parties to signal their priorities, and we believe that public health should be one of them. If we are to win the fight against TB and ensure universal access to high quality TB diagnosis and treatment, we need the commitment and active support of all political parties. This is especially vital given the increasing number of drug-resistant cases in the country", said Dr S N Misra, chairman of the PTCC

In its letter, PTCC has highlighted several key action areas, including providing accurate diagnosis and free treatment for TB in the public sector and ensuring additional resources are allocated for setting up of adequate diagnostic facilities.

Although TB is a preventable and curable disease, it continues to impose an enormous health and economic burden on India, which bears the highest TB burden in the world. TB kills 3,00,000 Indians every year.

The PTCC is a national coalition comprising technical agencies, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, affected communities, corporate sector groups, professional bodies and academia committed to support and strengthen India's national TB control efforts.

Source: The Times of India

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By Ekatha Ann John

Published: Feb. 19, 2014, 12:13 p.m.

Last updated: Feb. 19, 2014, 1:17 p.m.

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