India among other countries in the South East Asian Region, which bear half of the global tuberculosis burden, signed a ‘call for action’ and pledged to scale up measures to end the disease by 2030. India reports 2.8 million new TB cases annually and nearly half a million deaths due to the disease.
Health ministers from countries in WHO South-East Asia Region, which bear half the global TB burden and WHO signed a ‘Call for Action’ for ending TB, pledging to scale-up efforts and implement adequately funded, innovative, multi-sectoral and comprehensive measures to achieve the global target to end the disease by 2030.
The Health Ministers from WHO SEARO took part in the two-day ministerial meeting towards ending TB in the region.
In 2015, TB caused nearly 8,00,000 deaths in the region, while an estimated 4.74 million new cases were reported.
Six of the region’s countries –- Bangladesh, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand — are among the 30 high TB burden nations globally.
The disease continues to be a leading cause of death and lost productive years in the crucial age group of 15-49 years causing catastrophic expenses, financial losses, outright impoverishment of individuals and households and massive aggregate costs to national economies.
The global targets seek to reduce TB mortality by 90 per cent and incidence by 80 per cent by 2030.
The initiative also stresses on increasing government and partner budgetary allocations to enable national TB plans to be fully funded.
The ministers discussed about setting up of a ‘regional innovation to implementation fund’ for accelerated sharing of knowledge, intellectual resources and innovations to reach out and treat all cases.
Observing that India represents the single highest number of TB cases in the world, Indian government has approached the “challenge” to end the disease in “all seriousness” and has accelerated action to meet the ‘End TB target by 2025’.
WHO’s South-East Asia Region comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.