Towards a TB-free Mumbai


Thousands thronged the 150 camps in and around Mumbai on September 13; it was an anti-TB campaign organised by the Rotary clubs of D 3140 with support from pharma major Lupin Limited to the tune of Rs 3 crore, to enhance awareness and ensure timely diagnosis and treatment for those afflicted with TB.

Accounting for one fifth of the global incidence of tuberculosis, India has the highest numbers; while a large number of cases go undetected, at least 50 per cent of detected cases are not reported to the National TB Programme and vast majority across the country have latent rather than active TB disease. The incidence of TB has risen sharply in Mumbai; “it is an easy target for the rapid spread of this highly contagious disease due to congestion and urbanisation. This prompted us to take action on an urgent basis,” said DG Subhash Kulkarni.

The District, along with the municipal corporation, has adopted a massive campaign — TB Bhagao Zindagi Badhao — across the metro, over 8 months with 4 Sundays designated as TB Days; all 145 Rotary clubs of the District along with Rotaract, Inner Wheel and other NGOs and hospitals, will organise preliminary checks, report identified TB suspects to DOTS, the government agency that offers free treatment, follow up on compliance and support patients with nutrition. The camps are called ‘Lung health checkup camps’ instead of TB detection camps to avoid the stigma attached to TB.

The first camp organised at high-risk localities such as Dharavi, Govandi, Malvani brought to light over a thousand TB suspects, out of the 25,000 screened. They were referred to the Revised National TB Programme’s centres. PRIP Kalyan Banerjee who visited one of the camp sites was overwhelmed by the crowd and the meticulous mode of screening. So was TRF Observer Dr Dennis Addo, a TB specialist from Ghana, who was there to analyse the camps and report to the TRF Trustees, following a proposal from the District to consider this as a TRF Term Gift Global Grant project. “It was heartening to see the inspired efforts of the Rotary team to save thousands of lives … touching millions of people,” said Banerjee.

Lupin provides financial resources and trained volunteers and specialists to assist in detecting and treating those affected. To spread awareness, Rotary will conduct one camp every quarter — a total of 600 camps across Mumbai during the year. Camps have been planned for November 27, January 24, 2016 and March 27, 2016 at various locations.

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