Rural healthcare providers serve as crucial link between TB programme and communities

The Union’s Project Axshya has trained over 25,000 rural healthcare providers in India to recognise tuberculosis (TB) symptoms, refer patients for screening and administer DOTS. To date, over 200,000 patients showing TB symptoms have been referred for screening and more than 19,000 were diagnosed and treated for TB since the initiative began in April 2013.

Informal health centres are the most common providers of services in rural and tribal areas of India where both doctors and hospitals are scarce. These centres are usually rudimentary private operations run by trusted members of the community who administer health advice and provide basic medical care. However, these are not recognised clinics and the healthcare providers do not have formal training and are not qualified doctors. As such, treatment is not always as good as it could be.

Project Axshya works with these trusted community practitioners to equip them with information and training in TB care in 300 rural and tribal areas of the country. Rural healthcare providers use their position in the community to raise awareness about TB and play a key role in early detection and treatment adherence.

In Hazaribagh district in the eastern state of Jharkhan, Umesh Prasad has helped treat and cure 25 people in his small village since getting involved with Project Axshya in 2010. He received an award from the district administration on World TB Day last year in recognition of his exemplary service in case detection, counselling and assisting with treatment adherence. He is currently supervising treatment of three TB patients.

Umesh and other rural healthcare providers like him are an integral part of Project Axshya’s innovative model that employs grassroots initiatives and community-level networks to improve access to TB information and services and empower communities in India.

Project Axshya is implemented by The Union and seven civil society partners with support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. 

Read more about The Union's work in South-East Asia