On the eve of the World Tuberculosis Day, Members of the Parliament, policymakers, TB patients, survivors, and citizens of the civil society, gathered at the India Gate to pay tribute to the nearly 5 lakh lives lost due to tuberculosis last year.
The gathering at the India Gate signed a pledge -- unite to end TB. The signatories, who lit candles at the site, have lent their complete support to achieve India's goal to eliminate TB by 2025.Ms. Blessina Kumar, who leads the Global Coalition of TB Activists, said, "We stand with every TB patient for the trauma and stigma he or she has had to face. This show of strength and solidarity today is a sign of our concerted efforts to fight and end TB in India."
India carries the highest burden of TB - 27% of the TB cases from around the world is from this country. In 2016, there were 28 lakh new TB patients and 79,000 patients of drug-resistant TB, a more severe form of the disease which is also more difficult to treat. Additionally, TB is known to be five times more common amongst economically deprived classes and incurs huge costs on its patients and their families.
Mr. Dalbir Singh, President of the Global Coalition Against TB said, "TB continues to affect the lives of millions of our fellow Indians. We, at the Global Coalition Against TB for the past five years have been working to raise the profile of the disease at the highest political level. It is heartening to see increased political support toward the cause as we work toward eliminating the disease by 2025."
The members of Global Coalition Against TB, a forum of Indian policymakers, also met Pranab Mukherjee, President of India, at Rashtrapati Bhawan, to discuss possible measures of TB control in the country.