“If something constructive is not done towards containing tuberculosis (TB), I will resign as patron of the Karnataka State TB Association (KSTBA),” warned Governor H.R. Bhardwaj at the 64 TB Seal campaign here on Wednesday.

Mr. Bhardwaj attributed increasing number of tuberculosis cases in the country to poverty of the masses. “Coupled with poverty, malnutrition, unclean environment, and lack of awareness are the other contributing factors. TB does not exist in developed western countries. But it continues to pose a huge challenge in India,” he said.

He called upon the KSTBA to launch a campaign to tackle TB on the lines of the polio campaign in India. With the only source of revenue for the campaign coming from the sale of TB seals, he said that he was ready to “go to the streets with KSTBA to sell the seals.”

Mr. Bhardwaj lamented that society was distancing itself from Gandhi’s principles of non-violence, truthfulness and community service.

Though health services are available in the country with both Centre and State governments spending crores, they were still not accessible to citizens belonging to poor socio-economic backgrounds. “Until it is accessible to all sections of society, we cannot build a healthy nation,” he noted.

Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader said that there was a need for laws to protect TB afflicted persons from being abandoned by their family members. Sharanprakash R. Patil, Minister for Medical Education, assured support from the Department of Medical Education in tackling TB.

Earlier, Shashidhar Buggi, honorary secretary of KSTBA and director of SDA Tuberculosis Research Centre and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, said that nearly 40 per cent of the population is infected with TB.

“With RGICD being a premier institute in detection and cure of TB cases, the State government has proposed to upgrade it to a national institute, on the lines of NIMHANS. The proposal has been forwarded to the Centre,” he said.

The TB Seal booklets, each with 60 seals, were released by the Governor. Each booklet costs Rs. 1,200 and the proceeds are used for the anti-TB campaign.

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