Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare along with Shri Arjun Munda, Union Minister of Tribal Affairs launched ‘Anamaya’, the Tribal Health Collaborative through video conference today. A multi-stakeholder initiative supported by Piramal Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF),‘Anameya’ will converge efforts of various Government agencies and organisations to enhance the health and nutrition status of the tribal communities of India.Lauding theefforts of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs towards ensuring holistic health for the tribal communitiesand 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 COVID19. 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’sgrand vision of a New India to celebrate 75 years of our independence and spoke how 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, poor treatment seeking behaviour, difficult terrain and infrequent transport among others."Expressing his elation at the launch of the Tribal Health Collaborative today,Shri Arjun Munda stated, “The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has been working relentlessly to address the health challenges of the tribal communities, engaging with State Governments, civil society organisations and other stake-holders.”He also observed that “as part of this Collaborative, the Ministry will undertake several activities such as: setting up of the National Council on Tribal Health to drive policy initiatives in tribal health; establishment of a Health Cell to closely monitor healthcare delivery in the tribal areas, devising mechanisms to implement the Tribal Health Action Plan and so on.”Dr Vinod K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Shri Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Enterprises, Mr Hari Menon, Director, BMGF, Mr Aditya Natraj, Head, Piramal Foundation, Mr Gaurav Arya, Country Director CIFF and Dr Shailendra Hegde, Senior VP, Piramal Swasthyaat other senior representatives of various organizations were present at the occasion.