REACH honours Women Champions for their Role in Fighting TB

Chennai, March 23 2017: On the eve of World TB Day, REACH honoured Women Community Volunteers for their relentless efforts and contribution to the fight against TB. As many as 120 Women TB Advocates were felicitated at the “Empowerment of Women to End TB” programme organised in Chennai.

TB is a curable disease but those diagnosed with the disease need continuous support through the treatment period. “When it comes to health, women are leaders in the community and within their families. On World TB Day, we wanted to thank the women volunteers for their services to the community and by doing so, encourage them and others like them to continue their efforts”, said Dr Ramya Ananthakrishnan, Executive Director, REACH.

Women play an important role as caregivers, not just for their families, but also for the community. Encouraging women to work towards tackling the challenges of TB control can help create a healthy, TB-free society. The women volunteers have been involved in accompanying people with a cough to the TB care centres, providing information on TB, encouraging people to go for a TB test, monitoring the treatment of patients, and motivating patients and their families.

Dr. Veera Kumar, State TB Officer, Tamilnadu released a Tamil publication ‘Sadhanai Pengal’ which revolves around 20 women champions, who have played leading roles in the fight against TB. Dr J Lavanya, District TB Officer, Chennai; Dr Jaya Shreedhar, public health and communications consultant; and Dr Raja, WHO Consultant all participated in the programme.

Several awareness sessions were organised for the community volunteers who participated in the meeting. Dr Uma Ram, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Seethapathy Hospital, Chennai spoke about women’s health in the broader sense, focusing on the importance of regular health check-ups, self-examination for breast cancer and routine pap smear.

For these women, taking on TB does not come without the stress of being on their toes round the clock and dealing with patients from different backgrounds. Therefore Ms. Jacqueline David, Counsellor, TTK De-addiction Centre, Chennai was invited to the event to talk about Stress Management.

The REACH team also hosted sessions, touching upon issues ranging from Health Seeking Behaviour of Women, Challenges in Diagnosis and Treatment, Women and Stigma, Challenges as a Caregiver, and Challenges in Engaging in TB Care Services.

World TB Day is observed on 24 March annually to increase awareness about Tuberculosis among different communities and groups to motivate them to come together and work for TB Control more effectively.