Union Health Minister presents media awards

New Delhi, 23 March: In the run-up to World TB Day on 24 March, the REACH Lilly MDR-TB Partnership Media Awards 2015 were presented in New Delhi yesterday, to recognize outstanding and responsible reporting on tuberculosis (TB). The awards were presented by Shri J P Nadda, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Mr. Anshu Prakash, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, feliciated the winners.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Nadda said, “On the eve of World Tuberculosis day, I congratulate the awardees for their insightful reporting on Tuberculosis. The need is to adopt a holistic approach to healthcare and work together towards inter-sectoral convergence to achieve our goals. I would like to recognize the efforts of the health company, the NGOs and all partners for their participation and involvement in bringing synergies to combat the disease. On behalf of the health ministry I assure you of our full cooperation.”

Dr Anurag Bhargava, Associate Professor (Medicine), Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehradun delivered a special address ‘TB Control in india: beyond the bug and drugs’. A publication ‘Reporting on TB from across India: a compendium’ was released on the occasion.

In the English category, the winners were Gunjan Sharma of The Week for her meticulously researched and detailed story titled ‘Does anyone care?’ and Priyanka Vora of Hindustan Times for her story titled ‘Drug-resistant despair’ examining the loneliness and fear that those affected by TB experience.

In the Local Language category, the winners were Sajil C for his comprehensive account titled ‘Controlling TB: Kerala faces new challenges’ published in Mathrubhumi Arogyamasika and Raju Kumar for his account titled ‘Not exorcism but medicines will help to eradicate TB’ published in Madhya Pradesh Sandesh where he tells the story of a woman’s discovery of the public health system and the free, high-quality treatment it offers for diseases like TB.

Commenting on the occasion Mr. Nabil Daoud, Vice President – SAMETA (South Asia, Middle-East, Turkey, Africa), Lilly said, “Since its launch in 2003, the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership has been working to empower stakeholders including more than 1500 non-traditional healthcare providers in India to care for people at risk.  In 2014 alone these efforts helped us reach 72,000 people at-risk for TB and MDR-TB for screening and care referrals.  The media play a critical role in helping us reach people in need and the REACH Lilly MDR-TB Partnership Media Awards recognize the efforts of those journalists who tirelessly champion the fight against TB through their work”.

“Through our work with the media, we hope to not only improve the frequency of reporting on TB but also support journalists with the tools and information they need to write about TB-related issues”, said Dr Nalini Krishnan, Director, REACH.

Zero TB Deaths campaign launched in Tamil Nadu

To observe World TB Day on 24 March, we launched a new campaign: Zero TB Deaths in Tamil Nadu, as part of Project Axshya, the Global Fund Round 9 initiative. This month-long campaign is intended to sensitise the general public about tuberculosis and encourage them to participate in a petition that demands better services for people affected by tuberculosis.

Over the next four weeks, several different activities including displaying posters in public places, organising programmes at industries and workplaces and involving pharmacies to act as a source of information for the general public will be carried out. In addition, information about the campaign will be widely disseminated through all regular Project Axshya activities including TB forum meetings, community meetings and reviews.

Those who wish to sign the peition can do so via a text message – please SMS ‘STOP TB DEATHS’ to 979097731. Or join the campaign via Facebook. At the end of one month, the petition with all signatures will be submitted to the state health authorities.