Dr. Soumya Swaminathan Appointed Principal Advisor to Union Health Minister for National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme

In a significant move to bolster India’s efforts in eradicating tuberculosis (TB), the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has appointed Dr Soumya Swaminathan as the Principal Advisor for the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP). Dr. Swaminathan, the former Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO), brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this critical role. Her appointment, which is on a pro bono basis, marks a major milestone in India’s fight against TB.

An Illustrious Career in Health and Research

Dr. Swaminathan’s impressive career spans several decades, during which she has made significant contributions to global health and research. Before her tenure as the Chief Scientist at WHO, she was the Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Her extensive medical research and public health background uniquely position her to provide invaluable insights and guidance to the NTEP.

Role and Responsibilities as Principal Advisor

As the Principal Advisor, Dr. Swaminathan will offer technical advice on the overall strategy to achieve the goals of the NTEP. Her responsibilities include suggesting policy directions and necessary course corrections to ensure optimal outcomes. Additionally, she will advise on the research strategy, helping to shape and guide the scientific approach towards TB elimination.

In a statement, the Health Ministry highlighted her role: “She will provide technical advice on the overall strategy to achieve program goals, suggest policy directions and necessary course corrections for optimal outcomes, and advise on research strategy.” This encompasses the formation of expert groups comprising top talent globally, ensuring that India’s TB elimination strategies are informed by the best minds in the field.

A Collaborative Effort for Maximum Impact

Dr. Swaminathan’s role extends beyond advisory functions. She will support the Union Health Ministry, state officials, and development partners in assessing the impact of the TB elimination programme. This collaborative approach aims to bring together diverse stakeholders to work towards a common goal—eradicating TB in India.

The National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme

The NTEP is a flagship initiative by the Indian government aimed at eliminating TB by 2025. This ambitious programme involves extensive screening, diagnosis, and treatment efforts, coupled with public awareness campaigns to combat TB’s stigma and promote early detection and treatment. Dr Swaminathan’s expertise is expected to significantly enhance these efforts, driving the programme towards its ambitious targets.

The Path Forward

Dr. Swaminathan’s appointment is a testament to the Indian government’s commitment to leveraging world-class expertise in its public health initiatives. Her guidance is anticipated to bring about innovative solutions and effective strategies to tackle TB, a disease that continues to pose a significant health challenge in India.

As the world continues to grapple with various health challenges, the importance of strong, evidence-based public health strategies cannot be overstated. Dr Swaminathan’s role in shaping the future of TB elimination in India is a promising step forward, and her contributions will likely leave a lasting impact on the country’s public health landscape.


Dr Soumya Swaminathan’s appointment as the Principal Advisor for the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme is a pivotal development in India’s public health journey. Her unparalleled expertise and experience are set to drive the programme towards its goal of eradicating TB by 2025. This collaborative and strategic approach highlights the importance of expert guidance in tackling complex health challenges, offering hope for a TB-free future in India.

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