TB-Mukt India: Why government is urging people to adopt patients by Narendra Modi’s birthday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants India to be free of tuberculosis by 2025. Now the Centre has launched an initiative, where individuals and organisation can adopt patients and provide for their care

FP Explainers September 13, 2022 15:38:38 IST
TB-Mukt India: Why government is urging people to adopt patients by Narendra Modi’s birthday

The National TB Prevalence Survey of India 2019-2021 found that the prevalence of the disease is 312 per 100,000 population. AP

There is some good news for tuberculosis patients as Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifts them a better chance at fighting the deadly disease on his birthday.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the Pradhan Mantri TB-Mukt Bharat Abhiyan campaign, which is part of the National TB Elimination Programme, on 9 September. It also includes the “Adopt a TB patient” plan and the aim is to adopt all patients who have given their consent for this initiative by 17 September.

Modi has set the target of making India TB-free by 2025, five years before that global target of eliminating the disease. “Our aim is to eradicate TB by 2025. We are also starting the process of adopting TB patients,” said the health ministry.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often emphasised the important role of jan bhagidari (people’s participation) in solving critical problems and building a prosperous nation… When the two come together for a common mission, programmes have a great chance of success. Can we then capitalise on jan bhagidari to make India TB free by 2025,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya wrote in The Indian Express on 10 September.

What is the “Adopt a TB patient” programme?

Now, individuals, organisations, corporates, cooperative organisations, elected leaders and non-profits can provide support by adopting persons with TB. The donor can pledge their support for one or three years.

Those who adopt TB patients are called Ni-kshay Mitra. A first-of-its-kind initiative, this is a voluntary scheme that the Centre has initiated under its plan to eliminate TB.

How to adopt a TB patient?

In order to become a Ni-kshay Mitra, a person has to visit the official website of the scheme (https://communitysupport.nikshay.in/). They then have to search for the state, district, block and peripheral health institution to make a donation or adopt a TB patient.

Mandaviya during the Swasthya Chintan Shivir held in May urged everyone to “join the soon-to-be-launched TB Patient/Village Adoption scheme, where everyone can adopt TB patients and ensure their well-being, provide nourishment, timely diagnosis and prompt treatment,” according to media reports.

Under the scheme, a Ni-kshay Mitra can offer three types of support to TB patients – nutritional, diagnostic, vocational and additional nutritional supplements.

“The initiative intends to provide essential nutritional and social support to people with TB and root out stigma and discrimination against them. Three types of support are essential. First, a kit that contains appropriate food and supplements to take care of their nutritional needs. Second, support for additional lab-based diagnostic requirements. Third, equipping the patients with vocational skills to help them join the workforce and live a prosperous and productive life,” Mandaviya wrote in The Indian Express.

The health ministry has recommended a monthly food basket for patients which will comprise three kg of rice, 1.5 kg of pulses, 250 grammes of vegetable cooking oil and one kg of milk powder or six litres of milk or one kg of groundnut. The food basket support will be an addition to free diagnostics, drugs and Rs 500 that the government already provides to TB patients, reports The Hindustan Times.

How common is TB in India?

India reported a sharp 19 per cent rise in tuberculosis cases in 2021 over the previous year, revealed the India TB Report 2022. The total number of incident TB patients (new and relapse) notified during 2021 was 19, 33,381 as opposed to that of 16, 28,161 in 2020, reports Business Standard.

The National TB Prevalence Survey of India 2019-2021 found that the prevalence of the disease is 312 per 100,000 population. The chief medical officer of the National Tuberculosis Institute said that while more than 40 per cent of the population in India carries the TB infection only 10 per cent get the disease.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2020, 30 high TB burden countries accounted for 86 per cent of new TB cases around the world, with India leading the count.

How many patients have benefitted? 

Under the newly launched Pradhan Mantri TB-Mukt Bharat Abhiyan campaign, 1.78 lakh patients have been adopted.

According to official sources, of the total 13,51,550 TB patients, including the multi-drug resistant ones, presently on treatment in the country, 9,04,425 have given their consent to be adopted. The government will reach out to the remaining TB patients for consent and also encourage the community for adopting them as a part of the campaign, reports PTI.

The government aims to ensure the adoption of all the TB patients who have given their consent by 17 September, which is Modi’s birthday.

According to a report by The Tribune, the concentration of patients who have consented to be adopted is the highest in Punjab followed by Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh.

In Andhra Pradesh, as on 9 September, 83 per cent of patients out of the total 44, 356 undergoing TB treatment have consented to be adopted, reports The Hindu.

With this programme, India is taking a big step toward getting rid of the dreaded disease.

With inputs from agencies

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