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‘The Treatment For Drug-Resistant TB Can Consume You’

Zakir was 17 when he started coughing. He was in Delhi, working as an embroiderer after running away from home. He lived and worked with 25 other embroiderers in a single room in the Kotla Mubarkpur area. Zakir's story is the story of thousands of migrants in India's urban cities. With crowded living and working conditions, as well as poor nutrition, TB creeps up on them and often remains undetected.
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Tuberculosis Care: Why The Government Must Engage With The Private Sector

As more than half of patients seek care in the private sector, the government needs to engage more with private practitioners and explore innovative ways to do so. They must find ways to ensure that private care providers follow proper diagnostic and treatment protocols, and notify cases to the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP). Ultimately, TB patients need quality care, regardless of whether they choose to seek care in the public or the private sector.
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Let's Take On The Daunting Task Of Defeating TB

My engagement with TB began three years ago, when the Global Coalition Against TB (GCAT), then known as the National Forum on TB, was instituted in New Delhi. What struck me most strongly was the fact that this was no new disease. It was ancient, well-known and familiar, and most importantly, preventable and treatable. It was unacceptable to me and many of my parliamentary and political colleagues that such a disease be allowed to infect and kill our fellow citizens.

Amitabh Bachchan And Ratan Tata Are Talking TB: We All Need To Join In

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.
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Why We Must Fight Social Stigma To Triumph Over India's TB Crisis

One of the major reasons for India's TB burden is stigma. This causes patients to often deny their condition. They also fail to seek treatment because they fear losing social standing. Failure to receive the appropriate treatment on time is one of the contributing causes for the spread of TB as well as the emergence of drug-resistant forms of TB which take considerably more time and resources to treat.
Natasha Badhwar

ASHA: Delivering Hope To India's Villages

ASHA stands for Accredited Social Health Activist. It also means hope. My first connect to this woman-driven community health initiative came as a message in my Facebook inbox. I recognised Neha, my ex-colleague from our 24X7 News years. She asked me to be part of a film they were making on a day in the life of an ASHA worker or Asha Didi, as they are popularly called.

In The Age Of Travel, Tuberculosis Knows No Borders

The recent episode of an air passenger who travelled from India to the United States, while suffering from extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB*), has raised a public health scare. The passenger, after landing in Chicago, travelled by car to visit relatives in three states before seeking medical care and being diagnosed with XDR-TB. She has been isolated and is currently on treatment at the US National Institutes of Health. Public health officials are now working to locate everyone who has possibly been exposed to the infection, including fellow air passengers.

TB In India: Is The Crisis "Silent" Or Is No One Listening?

India is home to over one-fourth of TB patients globally and has a growing population of drug-resistant TB cases that are hard to diagnose and harder to treat. Yet, ironically, we are credited with designing, implementing and launching one of the world's largest TB control programmes. A strange contradiction that belies our inability, lack of innovative thinking, and insufficient attention and resources to TB.

What Does Slashing The Healthcare Budget Mean For India's Ailing Public Health System?

One person dies from tuberculosis every minute in India. Millions of children die every year because of inadequate access to food and preventable illnesses like diarrhoea and pneumonia. India is the diabetes capital of the world and the third most obese country. Due to mental health conditions like depression, India's suicide rate in the 15-29 age group is the highest in the world. The Infant Mortality Rate in India is 40 which compares poorly with its neighbours including Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.