Mumbai: The Central TB division (CTD), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the North Maharashtra University (NMU) together with The International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized a research and academia conclave in the city. The discussion focussed on the need for more students to actively pursue scientific research in the quest for innovative and more effective tuberculosis interventions. The dimensions of this research will encompass various fields such as social sciences, economics, humanities and engineering.
Shri. Rajkumar S. Badole, Honourable Minister Social Justice and Special Assistance Department, Maharashtra, inaugurated the Conclave. Also present were Dr. N. S. Dharmshaktu, Special Director General, MoHFW; Prof. (Dr.) Sudhir U. Meshram, Vice Chancellor, North Maharashtra University; Dr. Sunil Khaparde, DDG TB, Central TB Division, Mr. Xerses Sidhwa, Director- Health Office, USAID and Dr. Jamhoih Tonsing, The Union; Directors and Vice-Chancellors from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and several prestigious universities in the country.
Shri. Rajkumar S. Badole, Honourable Minister Social Justice and Special Assistance Department, Maharashtra said, “TB is not just a medical problem but it has several social ramifications. Families get broken due to the disease. Several children are forced into labour and TB patients, especially women and girls, face stigma. Awareness is absolutely crucial. Social science research is required for us to be able to understand the challenges and find solutions. I am convinced that only if we work together, can we conquer TB. I appeal to all present here to come together to fight TB in India”
Prof. (Dr.) Sudhir U. Meshram, Vice Chancellor, North Maharashtra University, said “This partnership is an excellent opportunity for us to strengthen our efforts in TB research, across various study fields such as social sciences, economics, humanities and engineering. The North Maharashtra University stands committed towards TB-Free India and has already launched a programme in 5 adopted villages for TB awareness and screening in partnership with CTD, The Union and USAID.”
“This conclave is to explore the role of universities, and Research and academia in TB prevention and care. We expect that as a result of this, several universities, research institutions, civil society organizations and the government will come together to work for a TB-Free India. Today we had several productive discussions on the social aspects of TB in the country, the opportunities for TB research, the importance of data in TB research and how we can utilize this new knowledge to improve patient outcomes,” said Dr Sunil Khaparde, DDG TB, Central TB Division.
“USAID has been partnering with the Government of India for over 18 years to diagnose, prevent and treat TB in India and we have made substantial progress. Over 15 million patients have been treated and millions of lives have been saved. However, much more needs to be done as the government alone cannot achieve the targets. We need a multi-sectoral approach in which the public sector, private sector and academic and research institues work together to achieve these tangible goals. It is important for us to continue to search for new ideas and approaches keeping the TB patient and survivor at the forefront. We need to invest in research activities towards improving detection and treatment and look at how to address not just the disease but also its social aspects like stigma,” said Mr. Xerses Sidhwa, Deputy Director – Health
WHAT CAN RESEARCH AND ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS DO?
Become a TB champion and join the campaign for a TB-Free India that aims at Zero TB Deaths, Zero TB suffering, and Zero TB incidence.
Initiate TB research across a wide range of study areas.
Evaluate interventions, develop evidence, and recommend best practices suited to the country.
Increase awareness amongst staff and students on TB.
Launch TB-Free India Student clubs for awareness generation.
Include TB-related public health issues in the institute’s research priorities.
Sensitize partners, foundations, institutions and their representatives on TB and its related issues.
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