Journalists from across India who were awarded fellowships by the REACH Lilly MDR-TB Partnership Media Programme to study issues related to tuberculosis (TB) participated in a two-day orientation programme here on Monday and Tuesday.

The group discussed the science of TB, the structure of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) in India, and the challenges in the management of TB, including multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), TB-HIV co-infection, the role of private practitioners and stigma.

In addition, the journalists participated in skill-building sessions led by Jaya Shreedhar, technical health adviser, Internews Network, in learning to use data and statistics for health reporting and identifying common challenges in reporting on public health.

‘Keep the issue alive'

Interacting with the group, V. Kumaraswami, director (in-charge), Tuberculosis Research Centre (TRC), urged journalists to find creative ways to keep the issue of TB alive in the media.

M.S. Jawahar, deputy director, TRC, pointed out that TB was one of the greatest serial killers in history and continues to be as big a problem today.

Padma Priyadarshini, senior research officer, TRC, spoke of the difficulties in diagnosing and controlling HIV-TB co-infection. Ramya Ananthakrishnan, medical director, REACH, highlighted the need to study the socio-economic factors that have a tremendous impact on TB, including poverty and nutrition.

The participants also visited the District TB Centre.

Keywords: TB awareness