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Universal Screening for leprosy and tuberculosis to start in India: Union Health Minister

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On Monday, Union Health Minister JP Nadda announced India’s preparedness of initiating universal screening for leprosy and tuberculosis. This announcement came from the minister while describing the various achievements of the NDA government over the course of last four years. The minister stated that the government intends on initiating a process of universal screening in accordance to which every individual would be screened for different diseases such as cancer, hypertension, leprosy, diabetes and tuberculosis.

India is accounted as the leading nation in terms of cases of tuberculosis all over the world as well as 60% of the total cases of leprosy all over the world. The occurrence of TB cases in 2016 was marginally reduced from 28.4 lakh in the previous year to 27.9 lakh. The reported deaths from TB in India were also reduced by 15% from 5.17 lakh in 2015 to 4.35 lakh in 2016. This initiative could be considered as a driving force for accomplishing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to eliminate TB completely by 2025 prior to the global sustainable development deadline stipulated as 2030.

As of March 2016, almost 551 out of 669 districts in India depict less than one case of leprosy in 100,000 people which is accounted as elimination by WHO. This feat has been accomplished in all states with the exception of Chhattisgarh and the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

The minister also stated that measures were undertaken to improve the functionality of AIIMS in order to reduce the workload of Delhi AIIMS by emphasizing on the irrelevance of candidate qualification for jobs at AIIMS. The delay in appointments of staff at AIIMS is primarily due to targeting of batches passing out of AIIMS by private hospitals prior to the processing of applications. Therefore the responsibility of appointments is allocated to a Selection Committee by the Institute Body and Governing body of the new AIIMS.

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