September 5, 2023
KHPT in collaboration with the Central TB Division, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR), and USAID organized a two-day regional workshop for the South Zone on the TB-Mukt Panchayat Initiative, which focuses on strengthening Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to fight TB. The workshop, held on on September 1 and 2, brought together representatives of the four southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, as well as Chhattisgarh.
The primary objectives of the workshop were to orient the state-level functionaries (within PRI departments and state TB programme) on the concept of the TB Mukt Panchayat and the role of gram pradhans (village leaders) in TB elimination. The workshop also aimed to facilitate and support the state PRI department functionaries and the teams from the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP) to prepare a collaborative state action plan for making Panchayats TB-free and submitting claims for TB-free certification.
The workshop was well attended by 20 PRI representatives, 26 NTEP representatives from the across the participating states, and leadership from CTD, MoPR, and USAID.
Dr. Rajendra Joshi, Deputy Director-General, CTD; Dr Nishant Kumar, Joint Director- Public Health, CTD, and Dr Alok Mathur, Additional DDG-TB, CTD addressed the gathering, emphasizing the importance of convergence for TB elimination at the grassroots. Dr Joshi, in his key note address, drew attention to the fact that the workshop is a first-of-its-kind initiative, where a TB programme is looking at the small unit of Panchayat Raj and at collaborating with a non-medical specialist ministry. He urged the TB programme staff to learn from PRIs, whose knowledge of the local culture, language and people, can help TB elimination efforts.
Dr Bijaya Kumar Behera, Economic Advisor, MoPR said in his keynote address that local government is the real developmental government and that convergence, cooperation, coordination and communication is essential to reach the noble target of TB elimination.
State representatives spent part of the workshop formulating state plans for the initiative, and at the end of the two-day workshop, each of the participating states presented a detailed plan of action led by State NTEPs and their counterparts at the MoPR.