Union Minister Harsh Vardhan launches tribal health collaborative ‘Anamaya’

New Delhi, Anamaya, the Tribal Health Collaborative was launched by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan and Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda at a function in New Delhi today. The Collaborative is a multi-stakeholder initiative of Tribal Affairs Ministry supported by Piramal Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).It will converge efforts of various Government agencies and organisations to enhance the health and nutrition status of the tribal communities of India.

Also present at the occasion were Dr Vinod K Paul, Member Health, NITI Aayog, Mr. R Subrahmanyam Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Dr Navaljit Kapoor, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Mr Hari Menon, Director, BMGF, Mr Aditya Natraj, Head, Piramal Foundation, Mr Gaurav Arya, Country Director CIFF and Dr Shailendra Hegde, Senior VP, Piramal Swasthya.

This Collaborative is a unique initiative bringing together governments, philanthropists, national and international foundations, NGOs and CBOs to end all preventable deaths among the tribal communities of India. It aims to build a sustainable, high-performing health eco-system to address the key health challenges faced by the tribal population of India. It will begin its operations with 50 tribal, Aspirational Districts (with more than 20% ST population) across 6 high tribal population states. Over a 10-year period, the work of the THC will be extended to 177 tribal Districts as recognised by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

Speaking on the occasion, 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 and civil society organisations. The Ministry has created a roadmap to address tribal health issues through the Tribal Health Action Plan. We are addressing issues related to tribal health on a Mission Mode and I welcome all the non-government organisations who have come togetherand shown their interest for this unique initiative. I am particularly thankful to Dr Harsh Vardhan and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for their support and I look forward to jointly reaching our common vision of enriching the lives of the tribal communities.”

Dr Harsh Vardhan lauded the efforts of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, saying “The launch of the Tribal Health Collaborative is like a dream from me. Health is an area where every Ministry can contribute. We all know that the tribal areas are our real deprived areas. Not just primary healthcare but through our various schemes we are trying to provide secondary and tertiary healthcare to the most marginalized people. My only appeal to this Collaborative is that, in addition to all the other mentioned areas, please focus on TB so that we can reach our goal of aTB Free India”

In a video message, Smriti Z. Irani, Union Minister foe Women and Child development said, “The tribal people of our country are facing challenges of health and nutrition. The collaboration between Government and Non-Government agencies to address this challenge is a very welcome decision”.

Dr Vinod Paul emphasised upon the need for community involvement and community engagement to make the tribal health plan a success.

R Subrahmanyam Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs in his address said, “A ‘Tribal Health Cell’ is being set up in Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Health care facilities in tribal areas are very scarce and the health standards of tribals are below normal level. All welfare measures should reach up to grass root level.”

Addressing the need for a collaborative approach to reach the most marginalised and vulnerable communities, Mr. Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Enterprises stated “On behalf of the partners of the Tribal Health Collaborative, I am delighted to contribute to enhancing the health and nutrition status of the most vulnerable population of India. It has taken over a year to bring together organisations with diverse experiences and expertise, aligning them towards the common cause of tribal health enhancement. We look forward to working under the guidance of both the Ministries.”

A compendium on Tribal Health was also released on the occasion.