The Union health ministry has made Aadhaar a compulsory document for tuberculosis patients availing treatment under the government’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). According to the government notification, An individual eligible to receive the benefit under the Scheme, is hereby, required to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar authentication.
The notification says that the scheme offers conditional cash assistance as a benefit. The beneficiaries include TB patients, private healthcare providers and treatment supporters. The RNTCP says it aims to provide universal access to tuberculosis care.
India has 2.8 million cases of TB as of the data from 2015. This data was in fact revised by the WHO because India had been under-reporting TB. In 2015 alone, 6.1 million new TB cases were reported to the WHO as India had been reporting only 59% of TB cases until then.
Several health workers say they were never informed of this cash assistance and TB patients have not been availing of it in the first place. They also see this order for mandatory Aadhaar cards as a way in which TB patients could be excluded and denied care.We work with many tuberculosis (TB) and HIV patients, including those who are multi-drug resistant TB patients. We heard about this cash scheme and Nikshay [an online monitoring system] for the first time today on our Whatsapp group.