July 24, 2024
2,000 TB Survivors Become Heroes, Aid Over 400,000 Patients Nationwide
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2,000 TB Survivors Become Heroes, Aid Over 400,000 Patients Nationwide

Jun 22, 2024

In a significant stride towards combating tuberculosis (TB) in India, over four lakh individuals grappling with the disease have found critical support from a unique initiative led by the Resource Group for Education and Advocacy for Community Health (REACH). At the national dissemination meeting of the Unite to ACT Project held in New Delhi on June 21, REACH highlighted the pivotal role played by 2,000 trained TB survivors known as ‘TB Champions’.

These TB Champions, having undergone training under the Unite to ACT project, serve as community ambassadors and role models. They not only raise awareness about TB but also provide essential peer support and person-centered care to those affected by the disease. Vinod Kumar Paul, former NITI Aayog member and public health expert, underscored the significance of community engagement in India’s efforts to eliminate TB, commending REACH for pioneering a replicable model centered around these TB Champions.

Arti Das, a TB Champion from Ajmer, Rajasthan, shared her experience, stating, “Over the last two years, I’ve not only supported people through TB treatment but also forged deeper connections with them. This connection can make all the difference in their journey to recovery.” This personal touch and empathy are crucial in fostering trust and reducing stigma associated with TB within communities.

Ramya Ananthakrishnan, Director of REACH, emphasized the transformative impact of the TB Champions in improving treatment success rates and enhancing overall community support for TB patients. “Through the Unite to ACT project, we have witnessed firsthand the commitment of TB Champions in transforming lives and reducing stigma within communities,” she stated, highlighting the project’s achievements in improving health outcomes and quality of life for TB patients across India.

The efforts of REACH and its partners have been lauded by key figures in public health including Arun Kumar Jha, former Economic Adviser, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and officials from the Central TB Division. These endorsements underscore the collaborative approach necessary for achieving India’s goals of reducing TB incidence and mortality rates.

As India continues its fight against TB, initiatives like the Unite to ACT project demonstrate the power of community-led interventions in driving positive change. By harnessing the firsthand experiences of survivors, such programs not only provide critical support but also empower communities to take ownership of their health outcomes, marking a significant step towards a TB-free India.

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