President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday expressed concern that India continued to have the highest burden of tuberculosis in the world. On the eve of World Tuberculosis Day, he urged all stakeholders to come together to fight the disease.

“On the occasion of World Tuberculosis Day, I commend the important work that has been undertaken by various stakeholders led by the National TB Programme. Since 1998, due to the successful implementation of the DOTS strategy; more than 14.2 million people across India have accessed treatment. However, it is worrisome that India continues to have the highest burden of TB in the world,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

He said one of the greatest challenges facing TB control was the detection and management of drug resistant strains of TB. “Such challenges highlight the need for strengthening research and development to urgently introduce new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines,” he pointed out.

Mr. Mukherjee said India had and would continue to lead the fight against TB and the Government had already introduced ground-breaking policies, including a ban on the use of inaccurate blood tests for TB and declared TB a notifiable disease. “India’s vision is to provide ‘Universal Access to Quality Diagnosis and Treatment’ over the next five years to all, regardless of their economic or social status. I call upon all stakeholders to come together for this fight against TB and to undertake all the necessary steps to achieve the goal of zero TB deaths. Let us all work together to achieve a TB-free India,” he said.

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