The Union and local partners organised an event in Mumbai to bring together corporates that have committed support to the Government of India’s “Call to Action for a TB-Free India” campaign. Leaders from 13 corporate foundations met Government officials and shared their plans for collaborating with government to address India’s TB challenge.
According to the estimates from WHO Global TB Report (2016), in India there were 2.8 million new tuberculosis (TB) cases and 478,000 people died from TB in 2015. Although India met the 2015 Millennium Development Goals to reduce TB incidence, prevalence and mortality, much work remains to be done and intensified efforts are required by all stakeholders.
The conference had speakers from a range of corporate organisations working in India. They spoke about the importance of close collaboration to have a real impact on TB. Mr. Deepak Arora, CEO, Essar Foundation stressed on community programmes for TB elimination. He said, “A company like ours, which has a large footprint in the country, can have an important role in reaching the communities. Even if we start by creating modules that we share with the existing staff about diagnosis and treatment, will create a great impact.”
Corporate speakers highlighted their different approaches and areas of work on TB. Mr. Sanjiv Navangul, Managing Director, Johnson & Johnson Pvt. Ltd. said, “ Our focus is on awareness, enhancing research and training. Globally, we are working to enhance research to reduce treatment time. The Conditional Access Program (CAP) should be given priority, because access needs to increase. We need to follow the model that South Africa has adopted for CAP.”
Dr. Padmaja S Keskar, Executive Health Officer, Public Health Department, Mumbai said, “No health programme can be successful without the participation of the public, and this is why we need corporates to come forward and work in high-burden TB districts and take on different tasks. The corporate sector has to join hands with the Municipal Corporation for Behaviour Change Communication.”
Welcoming new partners on board Ms. Kavita Ayyagari, Project Director, Challenge TB, The Union said,“TB is a disease that needs to be tackled on many fronts, and by numerous stakeholders coming together. Everyone has a role to play and together we can make a big difference. From 2015 until now, we have had various corporate partners joining the ‘Call to Action for a TB-Free India’. It is now our responsibility to take these commitments forward and ensure they get implemented on ground so we can reach every TB patient and ensure complete treatment and care.”
The event was orgranised in partnership with the Central TB Division (CTD), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC; also known as Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM)).