Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare along with Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda has launched ‘Anamaya’, the Tribal Health Collaborative through video conference. A multi-stakeholder initiative supported by Piramal Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), ‘Anameya’ will cover efforts of various government agencies and organisations to enhance the health and nutrition status of the tribal communities of the country.
Lauding the efforts of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs towards ensuring holistic health for the tribal communities and the recent joint effort undertaken to target Tuberculosis, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “In the past one year, several efforts have been made by the Health Ministry to jointly address the health gaps of the tribal communities with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Recently, the Tribal TB Initiative was launched by both the Ministries to fulfil the Prime Minister’s goal of ‘TB MuktBharat’ by 2025, five years ahead of the global deadline.”
He also made an explicit request to the senior functionaries to focus on TB since it is one area where India has been suffering for decades and commented, “We want to create awareness for TB similar to Covid-19. If we can eradicate Polio and Small Pox, we can also eliminate TB”. He also expressed hope that in the coming days, other critical diseases such as Malaria, Sickle Cell Disease, malnutrition, anaemia, etc, which are widely prevalent among the tribal communities will also be addressed effectively.
The Union Minister exalted the Prime Minister’s grand vision of a New India to celebrate 75 years of our independence and spoke about how the upliftment of tribal societies continues to be a crucial fulcrum to the whole exercise. He observed that although India has seen a significant improvement in access and quality of healthcare services in the last decade, this has not equitable across its diverse geographies and social welfare “The tribal population despite improvement over the years, disproportionately share the burden of poverty, death and diseases compared to their non-tribal counterparts and face a myriad of obstacles when accessing public health systems. These include the lack of health facilities in indigenous communities and cultural differences with the health care providers such as differences in languages, human resource shortages, and poor treatment seeking behaviour, difficult terrain and infrequent transport among others.”