A group of tuberculosis survivors has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to increase the amount under the Nikshay Poshan Yojana.
In the letter written to Modi, the Survivors Against TB (SATB) highlighted the challenges associated with the recently-announced Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for TB patients.
On April 1, the Ministry of Health had announced the scheme offering incentives to support the nutritional needs of TB patients.
The scheme is called the “Nikshay Poshan Yojana”. Under it, a financial incentive of Rs 500 per month is provided to each notified TB patient for the entire duration of his treatment.
While commending this patient-centric and compassionate scheme, the SATB highlighted two critical challenges that hindered its success.
First, the monthly amount offered to patients is insufficient.
Based on extensive interviews with patients, the SATB believes that the amount is low for buying food for a month.
“It is critical that the government considers increasing this amount to Rs 2,000 so that it can at least cover the monthly food costs,” they said in a statement.
Increasing the amount had the possibility of ensuring improved nutrition and financial stability for millions of Indians affected by the disease, they added.
Another key challenge highlighted in the letter was the poor awareness of and enrolment in this scheme.
Most TB patients and their families remain unaware of the scheme.
The SATB highlighted an urgent need to roll out a multi-lingual, multi-media effort to ensure that maximum number of TB-affected individuals could enrol in and avail of the scheme.
SATB believes that the programme has the potential to be a game changer for millions of TB affected individuals.
SATB is a community-based movement that is led by of a group of TB survivors who are working to strengthen India’s fight against tuberculosis.