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Union Health Minister asks Tamil Nadu CM to focus on TB elimination

“We have asked some States that have the potential and capability to eliminate TB by 2025, five years ahead of the international goals. I hope Tamil Nadu could be one of those States,” Harsh Vardhan said on Friday

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said that he had asked Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to focus on the elimination of tuberculosis.

Shortly after meeting the Chief Minister, Dr. Vardhan told reporters, “We have asked the Chief Minister to specifically focus a little more on TB elimination. We have asked some States that have the potential and capability to eliminate TB by 2025, five years ahead of the international goals. I hope Tamil Nadu could be one of those States and examples like this can be showcased to the rest of the country. They can also emulate the example of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

COVID-19 vaccine date not specified

The Union Health Minister, however, did not specify when the COVID-19 vaccines would be rolled out. To a question on when the first batch of vaccines would be rolled out, he said all the preparations such as trial runs were happening as the vaccine has to ultimately be rolled out one day. “You will get to know as soon as the date is decided,” he said.

He said he had conveyed his appreciation [to the State] for providing exemplary services on the health front in particular. “Various facts that we noticed including the performance of 100% RT-PCR tests, providing good quality facilities for treatment of patients even in the government sector and also institutionalising post-COVID care sequelae and research around that. I had come to Tamil Nadu to oversee arrangements being made for impending vaccination against COVID-19,” he said.

He noted that he inspected three vaccination sites in the government and private sector, and central stores where the vaccines would be stored for distribution to most of the southern States.

“We also requested the CM for attention on the health and wellness centres. Our aim is to create 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres focussing on preventive, promotive and positive health in all parts of the country by the end of 2022,” he said.

Dr. Vardhan recalled that the Centre had sanctioned 11 new government medical colleges for the State. “In 2019, the Cabinet had decided to have 75 more medical colleges converted from district hospitals in the country. All 75 have been decided, and 11 medical colleges were allotted to Tamil Nadu, and we laid the foundation stone for a few of them in the beginning of 2020. I have requested the Chief Minister to keep his commitment to the health sector at the highest level,” he said.

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