Experts discuss the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships and innovation to end TB in India by 2025

Earlier this month, The Union, in partnership with India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, convened a panel of multi-stakeholder experts to discuss ways to collaborate and use innovation to eradicate tuberculosis (TB). In 2016 alone, there were 400,000 TB related deaths and with over 2 million incidence cases each year; India contributes 26 percent to the global TB burden.

This meeting follows the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end TB in India by 2025, five years ahead of the globally agreed target anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals. It brought together representatives from the government, civil society and the private sector to participate in panel discussions about the role of innovation and partnership to drive efforts to end tuberculosis in India within the next seven years.

Mr Vikas Sheel, Joint Secretary of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, inaugurated the meeting and emphasised the importance of ‘enhanced products’ and technology in the fight against TB. He highlighted the potential of these innovative tools to prevent TB transmission and create positive behaviour change to support TB control efforts. Discussions later addressed the role of technology to bring the lab closer to the patient and enable a ‘test and treat’ approach in one visit, as well as the power of technology to ensure treatment adherence among TB patients.

The panel of multi-stakeholder experts agreed that, in order to achieve its target, India must change its strategy and adopt an holistic approach to TB eradication, engaging multi-sectoral stakeholders at every stage of the elimination process in order to make positive change.

Dr Jamie Tonsing, Regional Director of The Union South-East Asia, said, “The Call to Action for a TB-Free India [has] steered multi-stakeholder movement against TB in India and has galvanised action. We are pleased to get experts enabling a platform to gather insights on existing challenges to TB diagnosis in the country. We hope that the comprehensions and opinions collected from this panel will help generate more momentum to eliminate TB in our country.”

About the Call to Action for a TB-Free India

The Call to Action for a TB-Free India is a national advocacy campaign, working to create partnerships, increase political will and commitment, and mobilise domestic resources in order to end TB in India. The TB-Free India campaign was launched by Hon Shri JP Nadda, India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare and is part of the global Challenge TB project funded by the United States Agency for International Development and implemented by The Union.

High-level support for the campaign has come from various stakeholders, including Amitabh Bachchan, TB survivor and ambassador to the campaign, over 30 members of parliament who have formed the India TB Caucus as well as various corporate and civil society partners.

To read the agenda for this event, click here

Learn more about The Union’s work in India here