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Can the ‘TB Mukt Panchayat’ program aid in India’s battle against tuberculosis?

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Can ‘TB Mukt Panchayat’ programme help India fight tuberculosis?

The government’s TB Mukt Panchayat Initiative aims to combat tuberculosis in India by engaging local communities for awareness. Experts have noted its potential but also highlighted some shortcomings. The initiative was launched on March 24 last year to meet the UN’s goal of eliminating TB by 2030, with India aiming for 2025.

Dr. Swathi Krishna Njarekkattuvalappil explained, “The TB Panchayat Initiative relies on the Panchayati Raj system for community engagement.” Gautam Menon emphasized the importance of local community involvement in TB control. A study published in the Lancet Regional Health – Southeast Asia assessed the initiative’s progress and identified areas for improvement.

While the initiative promotes collaboration and political will, it lacks monitoring, TB surveillance data at the panchayat level, and robust evaluation mechanisms. The overemphasis on certification could lead to manipulation of the system. Some frontline states face challenges in accessing essential anti-TB drugs, highlighting the importance of addressing social determinants and ensuring drug availability for successful TB eradication in India.

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