Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday urged parliamentarians, MLAs and heads of local bodies to be catalysts in the campaign against tuberculosis and ensure a gender-sensitive approach to eradicate it.
“While the prevalence of TB is higher among men, it can have a disproportionately higher impact on women. Women are more susceptible because adequate priority is not given to their health and nutrition. TB is responsible for more deaths among women of reproductive age than all causes of maternal mortality combined. Facing the misery of abandonment and violence if found to have TB, it is not surprising that there are a large number of unreported and therefore untreated cases of TB amongst women,” Mr. Naidu said at a national conference on “Women Winning against TB”.
He said only 18 lakh of the 26 lakh estimated new TB cases in 2020 were reported to the TB programme signifying a wide gap of 8 lakh because of the stigma attached to the disease.
He also underlined that ensuring nutrition to women and children will be key in the fight against TB.
Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Rajesh Bhushan, said his Ministry was working with the Ministry of Women and Child Development to explore possibilities of additional nutritional support for pregnant women and lactating mothers and children to achieve the target of eradicating TB by 2025.
“If our country is to achieve TB elimination goals, exhaustive and inclusive collaborations are imperative to reach more vulnerable populations and increase the depth of TB services. TB affects over 10 lakh women and girls and more than 3 lakh children every year in our country. Hence it is vital to ensure women and children not only have equitable access to healthcare but also actively seek and complete appropriate TB regimen,” Mr. Bhushan said.