Bhubaneswar, March 24, 2017: On World TB Day 2017, three eminent Oriya personalities – musician Padma Shri Prafulla Kara, sand artist Padma Shri Sudarsan Pattnaik and actor Shri Kuna Tripathy were announced as TB Ambassadors for the state.
All three Ambassadors expressed their commitment to improving awareness and public understanding of TB in Odisha. Speaking the previous day on Puri beach, where he created a sandart installation, Padma Shri Sudarsan Pattnaik said, “I want to create awareness about TB together with the state government and REACH. India has a big TB burden but there is a cure, so let us all become more aware that we can become TB-free.”.
“Generally celebrities are expected to endorse cosmetics, or fabrics, jewellery items or any other luxurious brands, so if we celebrities stand with causes like TB, then the society is surprised. So, why I am I here? The society gave me name, fame, identity, respect, but what I am I giving it back to the community. I was shocked to hear that every three minutes, someone dies of TB in India. I am here to join the fight against TB”, said popular Odia actor and stand-up comedian Kuna Tripathy.
Also speaking on the occasion, Padmashri Prafulla Kar, award-winning Odiya musician, commented, “Our commitment as ambassadors or TB champions in this campaign is to increase awareness amongst everyone, so that we can jointly work towards eliminating TB in the state. Some of us are aware about TB but we have joined this cause to spread awareness amongst all”.
“We have believed for a long time that the fight against TB needs the active involvement of leading artistes and intellectuals. We are delighted and grateful that Shri Prafulla Kara, Shri Sudarsan Pattnaik and Shri Kuna Tripathy have declared their commitment and look forward to working with them to dispel the many myths and misconceptions that persist around TB in the community”, said Dr Nalini Krishnan, Director, REACH.
The Ambassadors were felicitated at the World TB Day event organized by the State TB Cell and Government of Odisha, which brought together government public health officials, civil society organizations, TB Survivors and affected communities.
“Together with our TB Ambassadors from the state, I am certain that we will control TB by 2020 and eliminate it by 2025. We are very thankfully to development partners like REACH so we can unite to end TB and achieve zero TB deaths”, said Dr Kailash Chandra Dash, Director of Health Services, Government of Odisha.
With over 1,300 deaths per day, TB continues to be a grave public health crisis in India. The New National Health Policy re-emphasizes India’s commitment to eliminating TB by 2025, reducing deaths, suffering and catastrophic costs related to the disease.
The TB Call to Action Project is being implemented with support from USAID in Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Bihar and Rajasthan. Through this project, REACH seeks to amplify and support India’s response to TB by involving previously unengaged stakeholders and broadening the conversation around the disease.