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Grassroots partnerships help curb tuberculosis in India

Jun 15, 2009

Increasing awareness and better health services have resulted in a higher rate of detection of tuberculosis, which has helped in lowering number of infections in India, says Nadia McGill public relations assistant, ADRA International. With 3.3 million existing TB cases, communities need to be more vigilant in combating the disease.

In India, where tuberculosis (TB) is the leading infectious cause of death among adults, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is implementing an anti-tuberculosis project in eight districts of Bihar state, reducing the numbers of people who become sick and die from this disease.


“Increasing awareness within the community is crucial to winning the battle against tuberculosis,” said Paulo Lopes, country director for ADRA India. “By improving education and mobilising the community, we will be able to conquer this deadly but easily preventable disease.”

Since it was launched in October 2008, ADRA’s TB Jumpstart Project is empowering targeted communities to play a greater role in tuberculosis prevention, control and care by increasing awareness, changing cultural attitudes, and encouraging greater participation.

ADRA is also working to provide communities better access to health services in an effort to increase the rate of early detection and treatment for the disease particularly among vulnerable social groups, including low-income coastal communities and people living with HIV.

ACSM strategy

This project is being implemented using the advocacy, communication, social mobilisation (ACSM) strategy, an approach that encourages the use of advocacy to influence policy changes and sustain political and financial commitment; two-way communication between care providers and people with TB as well as communities to improve knowledge of TB control policies, programs and services; and social mobilisation to engage society, especially the poor, and allies and partners to stop TB.

TB Jumpstart is also supporting the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP), an initiative launched by the Government of India in 1997 in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide free quality anti-tubercular drugs across the country.

ADRA is carrying out the Jumpstart project in the districts of Supaul, Siwan, Sivhar, Saran, Madhubani, Bhojpur, Nawada, and Gaya with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and backing from the State Tuberculosis Department of Bihar and the Central Tuberculosis Division, part of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

In the southern Tamil Nadu state, the "Treatment for One is Prevention for All" (TOPA) project is benefitting approximately 196,000 people. The focus of this initiative to educate communities about TB has resulted in a higher rate of detection, which has helped lower infection numbers.

Need more vigilance

India, with 3.3 million existing TB cases, has the highest number of tuberculosis infections worldwide and the second highest rate – 1.9 million – of new infections per year, according to the WHO 2009 Global Tuberculosis Control Report. The airborne disease causes on average two deaths every three minutes in India, according to DGHS.

Tuberculosis is a contagious disease that spreads when infectious carriers cough, sneeze, spit, or propel mycobacteria inside aerosol droplets into the air. Small quantities of mycobacteria are enough to infect a person, according to WHO.

In fact, a person with an active case of the disease can infect on average between 10 to 15 people in a year. Currently, more than 13.7 million people are infected with tuberculosis globally.

ADRA India was officially registered in 1992. Its current areas of work include health, emergency management, economic development, education, water and sanitation, environment, anti-human trafficking, and gender equality.

ADRA is a nongovernmental organisation present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.

Source : ADRA
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