Candlelight vigil at India Gate marking World Tuberculosis Day

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar. 24 (ANI): On the solemn occasion of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, Members of Parliament, policymakers, TB patients, survivors, and citizens of the civil society gathered at India Gate on Thursday, March 23 to pay tribute to the nearly five lakh lives lost due to this disease last year. Aligned with the global theme of World TB Day 2017, those gathered signed a pledge to unite to end TB. The signatories, who lit candles at the site, have lent their complete support to achieve India's goal to eliminate TB by 2025. Blessina Kumar, who leads the Global Coalition of TB Activists, said, "We stand with every TB patient for the trauma and stigma he or she has had to face. This show of strength and solidarity today is a sign of our concerted efforts to fight and end TB in India." India carries the highest burden of TB - 27% of the TB cases from around the world are from this country. Only last year there were 28 lakh new TB patients and 79,000 patients of drug-resistant TB, a more severe form of the disease which is also more difficult to treat. Additionally, TB is known to be five times more common amongst economically deprived classes and incurs huge costs on its patients and their families. To tackle the critical problem of TB in the country, the Government of India's Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme will soon be releasing the National Strategic Plan for TB Control (2017-2025) which will pave the way for achieving the elimination goal. Dalbir Singh, President of the Global Coalition Against TB said, "TB continues to affect the lives of millions of our fellow Indians. We, at the Global Coalition Against TB for the past five years have been working to raise the profile of the disease at the highest political level. It is heartening to see increased political support toward the cause as we work toward eliminating the disease by 2025." Earlier in the day, members of Global Coalition Against TB, a forum of Indian policymakers, also met with Pranab Mukherjee, President of India, at Rashtrapati Bhawan, to discuss possible measures of TB control in the country. (ANI)