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WHO South-East Asia Region Commits To Enhancing Efforts To End Tuberculosis, Adopts Gandhinagar Declaration

“Today urgent action is needed more than ever to achieve our goal of a region free of tuberculosis, that has been menacing millions of people with disease and death, poverty, and despair,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia

WHO South-East Asia Region Commits To Enhancing Efforts To End Tuberculosis, Adopts Gandhinagar Declaration
The declaration calls for ensuring appropriate adoption and use of science and technology for equitable and human rights-based TB services that are accessible to all

Gandhinagar: The WHO South-East Asia Region, which bears a disproportionate burden of nearly half of the global TB cases and deaths, on Thursday (August 17) committed to further accelerate efforts to end tuberculosis by 2030 with its member countries adopting the Gandhinagar Declaration. Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia, said in her address to a ministerial meeting on “Sustain, Accelerate, and Innovate to end TB in the South-East Asia Region”,

Today urgent action is needed more than ever to achieve our goal of a region free of tuberculosis, that has been menacing millions of people with disease and death, poverty, and despair.

The Gandhinagar Declaration was adopted at the end of the two-day meeting held to follow-up on the progress made to end TB, a flagship priority in the region, and in the run-up to the UN High Level Meeting on TB on September 22 in New York.

Also Read: Nutrition Support Shown To Prevent Tuberculosis, Deaths In Jharkhand: Lancet Study

The declaration calls for establishing high-level multisectoral commission reporting to the highest political level in each country for synergy of efforts among various stakeholders, and to monitor progress towards ending TB and other priority diseases. The WHO regional director said, adding that during the COVID-19 pandemic, TB infrastructure was rapidly deployed for infection diagnosis and containment,

These high-level multisectoral commission on TB could also help build responsive health systems and advance universal health coverage and health security.

The declaration calls for ensuring appropriate adoption and use of science and technology for equitable and human rights-based TB services that are accessible to all, irrespective of any social, cultural, or demographic divide, through an integrated, primary health care approach, she said.

It emphasises on allocation of necessary resources to meet TB service coverage targets and address social determinants to have multi-disease impact. Dr Singh said,

In 2022, TB allocations in the region reached US dollar 1.4 billion, of which 60 per cent was from domestic sources. However, for mission success, we need at least 3 billion US dollars annually, which will also help maintain key social protection programmes such as for nutritional support. Let us build on the substantial increases already achieved.

She also emphasised on empowering and engaging TB-affected communities by not just listening to but truly hearing them.

The declaration calls on WHO to maintain TB as a flagship priority programme over the coming years and provide leadership and technical support to countries for sustained and accelerated approaches supported by research and innovation.

Home to a quarter of the global population, the WHO South-East Asia Region accounts for nearly half of the new TB cases and deaths globally every year.

Also Read: Over 10.3 Lakh Tuberculosis Cases, 44,800 Deaths Between Jan-May 2023: Centre

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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