New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS): President Pranab Mukherjee Sunday said tuberculosis (TB) cannot be controlled globally unless it is controlled in India.
"India has the world's highest burden of tuberculosis. TB kills one person every two minutes in India or almost 750 people daily," the president told a conference on TB and allied diseases here.
"Global TB control is unattainable without controlling the incidence of TB in India," he said.
Mukherjee added that nearly 20 years after the WHO declared TB a global public health emergency, major progress had been made towards meeting the global targets. India has been able to partner in the progress, he said.
"The Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) has become one of India's largest public health achievements. The overall vision of RNTCP is 'a TB free India'," he said.
"There is compelling evidence now that the tide has, indeed, turned in case of TB. The burden of TB has begun to fall and there are now fewer TB-related deaths each year than previous years."
Commending the health and family welfare ministry for developing a national strategic plan 2012-17 for TB control in India, he said the focus should be on better diagnosis of TB patients through improved outreach.
"The emphasis also has to be on improving patient-friendly access to high-quality treatment for all diagnosed cases of TB, including scaling-up treatment for multi-drug resistant TB nationwide.
"Let us commit ourselves to continue to do our best for instituting health care systems in the country which are equitable, affordable and accessible by all sections of the society," he said.