Over 15,000 more tuberculosis (TB) cases have been detected under the government’s initiative, Union Health Minister JP Nadda said on Thursday. Speaking as India’s representative at the “1st WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in Sustainable Development Era”, Nadda said: “We have already completed two campaigns covering 257 districts and screened over 30 million vulnerable persons and detected over 15,000 fresh TB cases. We are planning the next campaign in December this year.

We will now be mounting interventions for TB in urban slum areas through the Urban Health Mission.” Highlighting India’s commitment to end TB, Nadda stated to provide access to patients in difficult-to-reach areas, both socially and geographically, the government had started active TB case finding campaigns in selected areas. “India is a major manufacturer of anti-TB drugs for the world with almost 80 percent global market share. We give only the best quality drugs to our patients, whether within the country or abroad. There is a wide scope for us to sit together and discuss seriously about promoting generic drugs for TB patients all over the world,” said Nadda. The Health Minister re-affirmed India’s commitment to eliminating TB by 2025. TB is an infectious, airborne disease that mainly affects the lungs. It is also one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. Caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the disease can spread from person to person through the air when people with lung TB cough, sneeze, spit, laugh, speak, propelling the germs into the atmosphere. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), six countries accounted for 60% of the new TB cases including India in 2015.  Despite various medical advancements during the last few years, poor hygienic conditions and poverty are some reasons that are holding the world back, especially India, where controlling TB is concerned.

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