As Mumbaikars stand in serpentine queues outside ATMs / banks in the city post demonetisation announcement, some social workers volunteered to ease their woes by offering them water, snacks and tea. Amidst the chaos, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also volunteered to help the citizens – in a healthy way.
Cashing in on Union government’s decision, BMC’s health officials have spanned across the city to be part of long queues to spread awareness on tuberculosis (TB).
Dr Daksha Shah, Mumbai TB officer, said, “Our district TB officers devised this plan of utilising demonetisation opportunity for spreading TB awareness. There are long queues outside each bank and ATMs. People have to stand for long hours and we thought we should use this opportunity for a healthy reason.”
Mumbai has been divided into 24 districts and each one has a TB officer.
“Each district TB officer collected details on number of banks and ATMs falling under their jurisdiction. Schedules have been prepared for team to visit places where they can conduct awareness programmes,” Shah said.
She added pamphlets containing details of symptoms and treatment options have also been distributed.
“TB is treatable and one should not be scared of it. However, it is important to complete the course of treatment as per doctor’s advice,” said Shah.
BMC has been taking proactive steps like ‘TB Harega, Desh Jeetega’ campaign to spread awareness on TB.
In a survey, the civic body found that their campaign was noticed by 99 million people on television and 2.5 million people in print media.
“We need more awareness for early detection and diagnosis. Awareness will also ensure TB patients complete their treatment without defaulting and stigma attached to the disease is gone,” said Shah.
BMC has also started house-to-house survey in 12 high risk wards.
“So far, we have covered 10 lakh households,” said Shah.
It is estimated that about 40% of Indian population is infected with TB bacteria, vast majority of who have latent, rather than active, TB. While there are 63,000 new multidrug resistant-TB cases in India, it is estimated that 1 Indian dies every two minute due to TB.