President of India issues World TB Day message

23 March 2013 - New Delhi - The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, today issued the following World TB Day message.

"On the occasion of World Tuberculosis Day, I commend the important work that has been undertaken by various stakeholders led by the National TB Programme. Since 1998, due to the successful implementation of the DOTS strategy; more than 14.2 million people across India have accessed treatment.

However, it is worrisome that India continues to have the highest burden of TB in the world. One of the greatest challenges facing TB control is the detection and management of drug resistant strains of TB. Such challenges highlight the need for strengthening research and development to urgently introduce new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.

India has, and will continue to lead the fight against TB. Last year, the Government introduced ground-breaking policies, including a ban on the use of inaccurate blood tests for TB and declared TB a notifiable disease. India’s vision is to provide ‘Universal Access to Quality Diagnosis and Treatment’ over the next 5 years to all, regardless of their economic or social status.

On this occasion, I call upon all stakeholders to come together for this fight against TB and to undertake all the necessary steps to achieve the goal of zero TB deaths.

Let us all work together to achieve a TB-free India".