The TB Call to Action (TBC2A) Project, initiated in 2016 with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was conceptualized as a strategic effort to broaden the conversation around TB and involve those who were previously unengaged. The project was implemented by REACH, in partnership with the then Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), at the national, state and district levels. Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh were priority states. The project ended on 14 January 2020.
To know more about the project, read the impact reports here.
In a first for India, over 300 TB survivors from across India were trained through capacity-building workshops held at the national, state and district levels between April 2017 and November 2019. These workshops focused on equipping participants to strengthen their knowledge of TB, building their advocacy skills and supporting them to reach out to others in their communities. Participants were also able to interact with senior health officials at the workshops, and develop a mutual understanding of their role in the TB response. Among those trained, over 220 TB Champions were engaged through a structured mentorship programme that helped define the role of a trained TB survivor in India's response to TB.
Networks led by affected communities have the potential to be powerful actors in the TB response and can take the lead in forging a rights-based approach. At the capacity-building workshops, network formation featured on the agenda, and participants had an opportunity to discuss the need for networks and their willingness to come together under a common umbrella. The first such network, Touched by TB, was formed at the national level, as an outcome of the Regional Capacity-building workshop for TB survivors from the Asia Pacific region, held in New Delhi in April 2017. State-level networks were announced by survivors from Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam in 2017-18, and by Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in 2018-19.
Developing and piloting the Employer Led Model for TB was a key intervention of the project. The goal of the ELM was to implement a comprehensive programme on TB care and prevention in industries by integrating awareness, health education and service delivery within existing systems, structures and resources, while at the same time taking cognisance of their business agendas. The intervention involved identifying and bringing together crucial stakeholders in the six states depending on the state-specific context. This was a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach involving the TB Programme, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, industries, industrial associations, the Department of Mines, the Department of Industries, other relevant departments and the TB-affected community.
Elected representatives – MPs and MLAs – can be powerful TB advocates, who can generate political commitment to India’s response to TB and raise the public profile and visibility of TB. Elected representatives were engaged in multiple ways – through one-to-one meetings; meetings at the Assembly through the office of the Speaker; roundtable meetings and community meetings. Advocacy efforts to involve elected representatives in Assam resulted in the participation of the Chief Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, at a roundtable meeting held in October 2018.
In March 2018, the then MLA of Baharagora Mr. Kunal Sarangi launched a TB-Free Constituency campaign, followed by a series of discussions and activities with community leaders.
Celebrities, by virtue of being key influencers, have the potential to improve understanding of TB and change attitudes towards people affected by TB. Celebrities were identified and engaged as Ambassadors at the state level – archer and athlete Padma Shri Deepika Kumari in Jharkhand; musician Padma Shri Prafulla Kar, sand artist Padma Shri Sudarshan Pattnaik and actor Kuna Tripathy in Odisha; actor Rajesh Kumar in Bihar; and actor-musician Zubeen Garg in Assam. The ambassadors all worked probono, and featured in short films, audio clips for radio, outdoor displays and other materials on various aspects of TB. In all, nearly 20 television commercials and short films were developed, across the states, and shared widely with all the districts. Some states used their own resources to broadcast the short films on television.
In order to broaden the conversation around TB, efforts were made to engage representatives from departments other than health, in the priority states. This resulted in the formation of Jharkhand’s first task force for the mainstreaming of TB and Odisha’s first meeting of over five departments to develop a joint action plan for TB. The intervention by REACH involved identifying and bringing together crucial stakeholders in the six states depending on the state-specific context. This was a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach involving the Revised National TB Control Programme, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Industries, Industrial associations, the Department of Mines, the Department of Industries and the TB-affected community
Minoti Puran, TB Champion, Jorhat, Assam
REACH or the Resource group for Education and Advocacy for Community Health is a non-profit organisation based in India and working on Tuberculosis for over two decades.
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