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It's a hot, brooding rainy afternoon in Mumbai as many of us TB nerds congregate in a small meeting room in a hotel in Mumbai. The room is filled with TB experts, doctors and government officials and our conversation is predictably dull. We talk about diagnosis, treatment and drugs. But the room comes alive as India's most famous TB patient Amitabh Bachchan walks in with legendary business leader Ratan Tata. Both of them are now "ambassadors" for TB control.
March 24 was World Tuberculosis Day. Not a day for celebrations in India if we consider that we have the highest TB burden globally with a million "missing" cases that remain undiagnosed, untreated and possibly undocumented. What's worse is that India's TB crisis -- the result of years of bureaucratic neglect and private sector disease mismanagement-- is now creating an epidemic of drug resistant (DR) TB. World TB Day then, if anything, is a reminder of the crisis ahead.