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| Last Updated:01/02/2019

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UP hails Rs 600 crore for nutritional support to TB patients

In an attempt to achieve its goal of eliminating tuberculosis, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech on Thursday allocated Rs 600 crore for nutritional support to TB patients in India, a measure that was given a thumbs up by health experts in UP.


Under this scheme, Rs 500 per month will be given to TB patients for nutritional support. Tuberculosis department officials said that the money will be transferred to the bank accounts of the patients through the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme, but the modalities of the same need to be worked out.


Doctors said that the monthly amount will help patients, especially the poor ones, in consuming a diet rich in nutrition, as TB tends to make a person extremely weak. Recently, the central government had introduced Rs 100 per month as patient support and transportation fund for multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB patients, who have to visit their nearest TB center for as many as 13 times in one year.


Dr Alok Ranjan, UP state tuberculosis officer, said, "The allocation of Rs 600 crore for nutritional support to tuberculosis patients in the country is a welcome step. An amount of Rs 500 will be given to a patient every month and this will be of great help to the poor ones whose health deteriorates because they are unable to take good care of themselves in terms of food and nutrition."


The central government had also recently introduced the policy to give Rs 100 to MDR and XDR TB patients as part of 'patient support and transportation' for each sample they give. Such patients are required to give 13 samples in a year. Also, in case of adverse reaction to medicines, these patients will get Rs 300.


"The government is making all possible efforts to ensure that tuberculosis is eliminated from the country by 2025. It has already come up with initiatives like door-to-door drives for collection of sputum of people to ensure that TB cases don't go undetected and that patients get proper treatment," said Dr MS Fauzdar, Meerut district tuberculosis officer.


Tuberculosis, which remains to be a major health condition affecting a large number of Indians, is a preventable infectious disease. In 2016, TB killed 423,000 people in the country. Earlier, the Global TB Report 2017 released by the WHO revealed that India topped the list of seven nations, accounting for 64% of the 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide in 2016.