Urges innovators to produce quality products that can be deployed at scale
Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Prof S P Singh Baghel addressed the Innovative TB Health Technologies Workshop of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The aim of the two-day workshop is to encourage the innovative health technologies for TB to be assessed and enable their adoption in the End TB program. The workshop will also provide a sharing platform for TB innovation health technologies which were displayed in the Stop TB Summit held in Varanasi.
Prof Singh stated that “the goal of eliminating TB by 2025 reflected the political will and commitment of the Hon’ble Prime Minister”. He also noted that “there is substantial decline in TB cases and notifications in India in the last few years.” Underscoring that innovation is key to the success of the mission, he urged the innovators to produce quality products that can be deployed at scale.
The Minister highlighted that under the dynamic leadership of PM Modi, “aggressive implementation of Central Government programs like Swachh Bharat Mission has led to considerable improvement in water, sanitation and hygiene indicators which is also helping in reducing diseases like TB”. He also informed that TB patients can now avail treatment with their Ayushman Bharat cards.
Prof Baghel thanked the dignitaries for their contribution to healthcare in India and urging them to “work in tandem with the government not only towards formulating meaningful policies and programs but also to ensure that they get implemented at scale and achieve the goals setup to make our country to achieve the vision of ending TB by 2025 as envisioned by Hon’ble Prime Minister.” He also congratulated ICMR for their relentless work during the COVID pandemic and producing an indigenous vaccine in less than a year.
Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary said that the goal of eliminating TB can only succeed on the back of innovations. He noted that diagnosis, treatment and community involvement are indispensable for effectively eliminating the disease. He also underscored that TB elimination requires a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.
The Union Health Secretary requested the innovators to not just bring innovative pilot products but innovation that can be rolled out in a programmatic manner. He hoped that the deliberations over the two days would lead to innovative products deployable at scale for India.
Dr Rajiv Bahl, Secretary, Dept. of Health Research (DHR) and DG, ICMR noted that technological solutions are inevitable for any health solutions. He stated that India has a lot of innovators but most of the innovations do not reach the scale because of various reasons like regulatory challenges or delayed approvals etc. He underlined that the objective of this workshop is to bridge these challenges and give more information to the innovators on technological requirements for not just TB but also for future pandemic preparedness.
Dr Soumya Swaminathan, former Chief Scientist, WHO stated that TB is an age-old problem but of late there has been a huge emphasis on eliminating it since it is a huge burden, especially for the poor. She highlighted that “India’s success in eliminating it will help a long way in its global elimination as was seen with other diseases before like Polio”. “The world is also looking at India because of the affordability and innovation it brings in health care”, she stated. She also informed that India is looking at the potential of developing a diagnostic test that is effective enough to produce the result in a short time.