Dr Sowmya Swaminathan, former Chief Scientist and former Deputy Director General at the World Health Organization, today called for the development of new vaccines against tuberculosis (TB), because “only with vaccines you can control the disease.” She expressed dismay at the continued prevalence of the disease, as shown by a recent survey, where there are 300 confirmed TB patients for every 100,000 people—the same as what it was in 1991. Calling for a ‘science-based approach’ towards TB control, she called for more extensive use of X-ray machines, especially because today there are hand-held X-ray machines. She also highlighted the need for access to molecular tests, and stressed the importance of looking at health holistically, including health education, mother’s health, nutrition etc. Tamil Nadu’s Health Minister, Ma Subramanian, spoke about the State government’s efforts towards making the State “TB free by 2025”, which included ‘veedu thedi maruthuvam’ (or healthcare at doorstep). He said that the government last year purchased 28 vehicles fitted with digital X-ray equipment for ₹13 crore. REACH also engages ‘TB Champions’ — people who are cured of TB – to play a part in the advocacy, mainly to remove the stigma attached to TB.
Today: November 30, 2023