Maharashtra government ropes in NACO to draw up TB eradication policy

Mumbai: To curb the rising cases of tuberculosis (TB) in the country, the Union government has roped in the National Aids Control Organization (NACO) to formulate a policy. A senior official said a joint committee has been formed with experts from the TB and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Control programme to map out a solution to eradicate TB by 2025.

This move comes even as HIV cases are decreasing in the country, while cases of TB are increasing. “TB cases are increasing in India, we need a solution to reduce such cases. The committee has also prepared a draft which will be submitted to the government soon,” said an official.

Statistics show there has been a 56 per cent decline in AIDS cases in India, causing the Union government to contemplate whether the methods and policies adopted to control the HIV-AIDS menace in India, can be adapted to control the growing threat of TB. Additional Project Director, Mumbai District Aids Control Society (MDACS), Dr Shrikala Acharya. said that over the past few years a decrease in the HIV-AIDS cases has been seen, but on the other hand TB cases are rising. “By adopting different strategies, we have been successful in controlling the HIV-AIDS menace. Now, the central government is contemplating whether TB can be similarly controlled,” she said.

Chief Medical Officer of the Sewri TB Hospital Dr Lalit Kumar Anande said that the government aims to eradicate TB by 2025. In February this year, a meeting was held in Delhi, to discuss a possible integration between HIV-AIDS and the TB control programme. “We need a long-term policy for TB like we have right now for HIV-AIDS,” said Anande.

Meanwhile, activists have welcomed the move, stating it will help control increasing TB cases in India. “The government is trying to integrate both TB and HIV programmes for better coordination. To reduce TB burden, the government is seeking help from NACO,” said Ganesh Acharya, a social activist, who works for TB and HIV eradication programmes.

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