* Pi Esther Lal Ruatkimi IRS, Principal Secretary
* Officials of the Health Department
* Invitees, Participants, Dear Friends
As we all know, World TB Day is observed annually on 24th March to raise awareness about TB and efforts to end this global epidemic. The theme of World TB Day 2023 is – “Yes! We can end TB!”
On 9th September 2022, the Hon’ble President of India launched the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan, which seeks to eradicate TB disease throughout the country. On 19th September 2022, I declared the State-wide adoption of the PM TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan at Raj Bhavan, in the presence of the Hon’ble Health Minister.
According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, all nations have set the goal of eradicating TB by the year 2030. However, the Government of India has set the target of eradicating TB by the year 2025. Towards this end, massive co-operation from all stakeholders is required, and we need to make this into a mass movement.
PM TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan is a unique campaign of community engagement. It aims to provide TB patients with increased nutritional, diagnostic and vocational support delivered through the community. Willing donors can register themselves online through the Nikshay Mitra portal.
In Mizoram, there are approximately 1340 TB patients currently on treatment. Since its launch, around 72 Nikshay Mitras or Donors have registered and contributed donations. I convey my sincere appreciation to all these generous donors.
At the same time, we need many more donors to come forward in order to make this movement truly successful. In our State, we are fortunate that the number of TB patients, which is around 1340 only, is much smaller as compared to the other parts of the country. Therefore, if all of us work together, we can easily support all the TB patients in Mizoram.
As the Governor, I have also supported 20 TB patients through this Nikshay Mitra programme. Hon’ble Health Minister has supported 10 patients. Likewise, elected representatives and officials from the State Government and the Autonomous District Councils, educational institutions, and generous individuals have already participated.
I take this opportunity to make an appeal particularly to our strong and vibrant NGOs. I am well aware that the NGOs in Mizoram, including the YMA, MHIP and MUP have active local branches throughout the State. Perhaps we can ask these NGO units to support TB patients through this Nikshay Mitra program in their respective branches.
In the same way, our major banks such as MRB, SBI and Apex Bank have branches throughout Mizoram. I ask them to explore the possibility of providing assistance through Nikshay Mitra in their respective areas. I also request the Churches and the political parties to support TB patients through this initiative.
Above all, I make an earnest appeal to all the people of Mizoram to participate in this Nikshay Mitra program, and to support TB patients in any way we can. Since the number of our TB patients is less, I am convinced that if we all work together, Mizoram can realistically become the first TB-free State in India.
Sadly, our State has the unfortunate record of high incidences of cancer and HIV/AIDS in the country. This is the perfect opportunity for Mizoram to create a positive milestone in the country’s health sector, if we can become a TB-free State. I congratulate and continue to encourage the Health Department in this endeavour.
Once again, I make an earnest appeal to all partners including co-operative societies, corporate, elected representatives, NGOs, public and private institutions, political parties and individuals, to support this few number of only about 1340 patients, so that we can soon become a TB-free State.