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BCG can prevent severe TB in children, but efficacy wanes over time: MoS Health

New Delhi: BCG vaccination can prevent severe forms of tuberculosis in children but its protective efficacy wanes over time, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar informed the Lok Sabha on Friday. The risk of tuberculosis even after vaccination if exposed to the bacteria remains at all ages. However, the infection breaks down to disease if the immunity of the individual is compromised due to various conditions, Pawar said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

A new skin test for detecting latent TB infection has been developed by a private agency. This has been validated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and market authorization approval accorded by Drug Controller General of India (DGCI), the minister said in response to a question.

To address the challenges and achieve SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) related to TB by 2025, the National TB Elimination programme implements key activities such as state and district specific strategic plans for targeted interventions in high burden areas and the provision of free drugs and diagnostics to TB patients, including for drug resistant TB.

Besides, notified TB cases are tracked through the case-based web-based portal Ni-kshay.

The Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan (PMTBMBA), Pawar added, was launched by the Health Ministry in September 2022 for providing community support to TB patients with the objective of providing TB patients with additional nutritional, diagnostic and vocational support.

The Ni-kshay 2.0 portal has been developed and made available in the public domain for facilitating the community to register as Ni-kshay Mitra. Guidance documents have been developed and shared with all states and UTs to implement the initiative.

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