Indian President warns that tuberculosis cannot be controlled globally unless it is controlled in India

23 February 2014 - New Delhi - President Pranab Mukherjee, inaugurating the National Conference on TB and Allied Diseases has said that global tuberculosis control is unattainable without controlling the incidence of the disease in India.

The President stated that the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) has now become one of India’s largest public health achievements.

"Nearly 20 years after WHO’s declaration of tuberculosis as a global public health emergency, major progress has been made towards attainment of the global targets defined in the context of the Millennium Development Goals. India has been able to partner in this progress."

"There is compelling evidence now that the tide has, indeed, turned in case of TB. The burden of TB has begun to fall and there are now fewer TB-related deaths each year than previous years."

Commending the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for developing a national strategic plan 2012-17 for TB control in India, he said the focus should now be to aim for universal access focusing on improved diagnosis of TB patients through improving outreach, vigorously expanding case-finding efforts among vulnerable sections of the society, deploying better diagnostics and extending services to patients diagnosed and treated in both the public and private sectors. He said that the emphasis also has to be on improving patient-friendly access to high-quality treatment for all diagnosed cases of TB, including scaling-up treatment for Multi-Drug Resistant-TB nationwide.

Speaking on the occasion, the President called upon all stakeholders to commit themselves to continue to do their best for instituting health care systems in the country which are equitable, affordable and accessible by all sections of the society.

"TB kills one person every two minutes in India or almost 750 people daily. I am confident that when we put our hearts and minds together we shall be able to build an India free of tuberculosis and other preventable disease."

Read the full speech.