Minister in-charge Health & Family Welfare AL Hek on Wednesday launched the ‘Meghalaya State Strategic Plan to Eliminate Tuberculosis by 2025’.
The strategic plan aims to achieve the goal of a TB free Meghalaya.
Addressing the occasion held as part of observing the World Tuberculosis Day, Hek said that the strategy is a great potential for partnership with different stakeholders, maximum utilization of technology testing tools and newer drugs.
“The vision for tuberculosis-free state determines to decrease the TB burden in terms of incidence rate by 44 per lakh, mortality rate by 3/lakh and reducing catastrophic cost due to tuberculosis by 2025,” he said.
The Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) was launched in the state on October 2, 2003.
In the past decade, the programme has screened more than 4,74,767 presumptive TB cases, put on treatment about 76,485 and successfully treated about 63,789 patients. The success rate of RNTCP is 83%.
Stating that tuberculosis still remain the major health problem in the state and the country as a whole, the minister said it is also a disease with high mortality rate among infectious disease.
He also reminded that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018 has committed to end TB by 2025, five years ahead of the sustainable developmental goal.
“We are racing against time, with four years left to achieve the goal I would like to call upon all stakeholders, development partners, civil society organizations, research institutions, private sector and many others whose work is relevant to TB elimination to kindly give your best effort in this mission,” he said.
The minister also called upon the citizens of the state for their active support to the programme for this cause and said, “Active community participation will lead to victory in our battle against tuberculosis.”
Asserting the need to also engage elected representatives including MPs, MLAs in the mission, Hek assured that the government will provide all necessary support to the programme and help whenever need in reaching the goal.
The strategic plan also stated that the burden of TB-HIV co-infection will be a challenge for the programme to achieve the goal and thus, the current occurrence of HIV-infected persons is very alarming.
According to a report published by Meghalaya State AIDS Control Society (MACS), there are 4,525 numbers of HIV infected cases in the state. From 2015-2019 there has been a rise/decrease of 57.47 % of HIV cases.
It also stated that considering the prevalence of diabetes, special focus on it will be required for TB elimination. The other challenges include tobacco use, alcohol consumption, malnutrition.