New Delhi: Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday extended his full support for a global plan for a new tuberculosis vaccine by 2025 and said India is fully prepared and in an advanced stage for taking this forward. Addressing a session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 in Davos on ‘Ending Tuberculosis’, the minister said, “Just as vaccines were a game-changer in the battle against COVID, Global Plan calls for approving a new TB vaccine by 2025 and making it available to adults and adolescents in TB-affected nations.”
“India is fully prepared and in an advanced stage for taking this forward,” he added.
Tuberculosis caused 1.6 million deaths globally in 2021, making it the world’s leading cause of death from infectious disease before COVID-19 surpassed it.
Mandaviya said India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, has been at the forefront of fighting tuberculosis globally.
“Our commitment is reiterated by the fact that we have advanced the SDG goals related to TB by five years to 2025 and being the Chair of the ‘Stop TB Partnership Board’, I also have additional responsibility towards TB management efforts globally,” the minister said.
He further said TB affects millions of lives, and its management is specifically close to his heart.
“We have taken several initiatives to intensify case finding, ensure medicine supply including tele consultation services to every TB patient,” he added.
The minister said India recently launched a very unique campaign of community engagement, ‘Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan’, which aims to provide TB patients with increased nutritional diagnostic and vocational support delivered through the community.
“Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan has already seen over 50,000 Ni-kshay Mitras adopting over 1.3 million TB patients,” he said.
Mandaviya said it is important to ensure that we collaborate globally and ensure that innovations in surveillance — supported by technology tools, novel diagnostics and drugs — become accessible to every county in its fight against TB.
“Full implementation of the Global Plan developed by Stop TB Partnership requires USD 250 billion over next 8 years, the equivalent of just USD 4 per person, per year worldwide. And this would deliver an economic return of USD 40 for every dollar invested,” he added.
World at large needs to ensure that sufficient funds are made available for the initiative, since if we do not invest to end TB now, we end up paying a much higher price later, he said.
“I am confident that the approach envisaged and present strategies to address tuberculosis will lead to required success and a global level concerted effort can ensure a TB free world,” Mandaviya said.