Malaria eradication top priority for govt: Harsh Vardhan
    (Eds: Adding more details)
    Pune, Sep 9 (PTI) Malaria eradication is one of the
top priorities of the government, Union Health Minister Harsh
Vardhan said on Monday, and reaffirmed the Centre's resolve to
also eliminate diseases like tuberculosis, encephalitis and
'kala azar'.
    He said efforts are also being made to develop a
vaccine for dengue, and the government has also set up a
strong surveillance system for viral diseases like Ebola.
    There are a couple of diseases which are on the radar
of the health ministry and malaria is one of them, he said.
    "We are working towards ending malaria as soon as
possible. Similarly, we are aiming at eradicating leprosy,
encephalitis and kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis). These are
on high priority. Malaria is one of the topmost priorities,"
the minister told reporters here.
    Malaria is caused by a parasite which is transmitted
to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
    The minister said the international target set for
eradication of tuberculosis (TB) is 2030, but the Union
government wants to eliminate it by 2025.
    The World Health Organisation (WHO) had set 2030 as
the target, as part of its 'End TB Strategy' adopted in the
World Health Assembly in 2014.
    Asked about health issues being faced by people of
Jammu and Kashmir, the minister said the government did a lot
in the past five years to address them and more was in store.
    "The government is keen to address every issue in
Jammu and Kashmir, which includes health as well. In the last
five years, the government did so much in the Valley. We are
establishing the All India Institute of Medical Sciences
(AIIMS) (at Samba in Jammu and Pulwama in Kashmir)," he said.
    He expressed confidence that development in Jammu and
Kashmir in next five years would make people there wonder why
there was a need for Article 370 in the first place.
    The Centre recently abrogated Article 370 which gave
special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
    The minister was interacting with mediapersons on the
sidelines of the inauguration of a new vaccine research and
development plant at the Serum Institute of India here.
    Asked about a lot of infectious ailments re-emerging
and how prepared the country is to tackle diseases like Ebola,
he said a robust surveillance system of international standard
has been developed to check various diseases.
    "Because of the power surveillance system, we are
quite thorough in handling these diseases. When Ebola happened
in 2014, I was the one who handled it and everyone knows how
effectively we handled it," he said.
    To a question on vaccine for dengue, he said some
serious efforts are being taken in that direction.
    On handling the corruption issues in the Ayushman
health care scheme, Harsh Vardhan said the government has
"zero tolerance" towards corruption.
    "If we see any kind of aberration, abnormality or a
semblance of corruption, we will try to nip it in the bud," he
    On concerns of the Indian vaccine manufacturers about
regulatory hurdles, he said in last five years, the overall
thrust of the government has been to ensure strengthening the
"ease of doing business" for everyone, including the vaccine
    "If there are genuine issues or concerns, not only of
vaccine makers but everybody, the government is receptive to
them and committed to resolving the issues that are in the
interest of the country," he said. PTI SPK BNM

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from a PTI feed.)