GUWAHATI CITY

Assam media briefed on key issues on TB

Guwahati, June 9 : In a bid to reach the goal of the ambitious target of ending Tuberculosis (TB) endemic by 2030 in India and to make Assam the first State to be declared TB-free with the concerted effort of the government, civil society and media, a roundtable on reporting on TB was organized recently here by the Resource Group for Education and Advocacy on Community Health (REACH).

Over 20 journalists attended the ‘Reporting on TB, A Roundtable for Journalists’– an interaction with the media on TB.
Speaking at the workshop, Dr. N.J. Das, SPO Assam (RNTCP), said, “The government, civil society and the media should collaborate to make Assam the first State in India to be declared TB-free. There is certainly a knowledge gap on TB. In our rush to prioritize treatment and reach, we’ve left the media behind. It is high time we worked hand-in-hand.”
The discussions covered the basics of TB burden and response such as transmission, risk factors, epidemiological picture and an overview of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP). The socio-economic status of TB and recent developments such as nutrition support and private sector engagement were also discussed.

Dr. Dhruba Jyoti Deka, emphasized the unique aspects of TB in Assam with focus on vulnerable populations in tea gardens, riverine areas and those living in border areas. “We (the media and the government) need to work together and organize trainings on TB for mediapersons to generate awareness in populations in vulnerable areas,” Dr. Deka said. Dr. Jayalakshmi Shreedhar said, “Though there has been an increase in the coverage on health, TB has not managed to keep pace with it. The media can sensitize the public about TB, including DR-TB, new diagnostic techniques such as CBNAAT and free treatment facilities available in the public health sector.” Since 2009, REACH has been working closely with the media to improve the quality and frequency of media reporting on TB.