Universal screening plan now includes TB and leprosy too
India will start universal screening at the age of 30 years not just for hypertension, diabetes and some cancers as announced earlier but also for tuberculosis and leprosy.
India has the highest number of TB cases in the world and also accounts for 60 percent of the leprosy cases. Addressing a press conference on Monday about the achievements of the NDA government over the last four years health minister J P Nadda also spoke about the future plans of screening for the two infectious diseases. India has committed to eliminate TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global schedule. The country, according to health minister J P Nadda is also aiming to get rid of leprosy this year.
“We are starting universal screening. So at the age of thirty years everyone will have to get screened not only for diabetes, hypertension and cancers but also for tuberculosis and leprosy,” Nadda said on Monday.
Active case finding is an important element of cracking down on both diseases as they are infectious and inability to detect cases may exponentially add to the disease burden.
Nadda started his media interaction of the government’s achievements with the recent figures for maternal mortality rates which have shown a dramatic drop. “Three states – Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have already met the SDG target which actually has to be achieved by 2030. We are hopeful that as a nation too we will achieve the SDG target of 70 MMR per 100,000 live births well ahead of that deadline,” Nadda said.
Among the initiatives that helped India achieve that landmark, he said is the web based Mother and Child Tracking System that has so far tracked a total of 13.5 crore mothers and 11.7 crore babies.
However despite repeated questions he did not give out a launch date for the ambitious National Health Protection Scheme. Nor did he say how India would achieve the 2018 Kala Azar and Lymphatic Filariasis elimination deadlines. The original KA deadline of 2017 has already been missed.