A TB helpline (9962063000) which would attend to all queries on Tuberculosis was launched by Mr. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, with the first call made to actor Suriya who was shooting for a film

Physicians, actors, well-wishers from non-governmental organisation and volunteers got together to commemorate the fight against Tuberculosis (TB), started by Resource Group for Education and Advocacy for Community Health or REACH, as it is better known, in 1998 in a humble way.

The not-for-profit organisation held a function here on Saturday on completion of 10 years of service towards tuberculosis care and control.

Launching the community initiative ‘Speak up to stop TB,’ Mayor M. Subramanian said nearly 62,300 people with TB were identified between 1999 and 2009. “Out of which, 54,200 have been completely cured,” he said. Mr. Subramanian announced that a proposal for a 20-bed hospital to treat de-addiction patients in the coming budget. Lauding REACH’s effort to create awareness, speakers noted that it was possible because of the partnerships with government and private organisations.

N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, said REACH’s success was its broad strategy and partnership. “Initiatives like this can make a dent on TB and other public health challenges. Its target of reaching out to 1,00,000 people in Chennai can be achieved,” he said.

Rajya Sabha member and Chairman MSSRF and REACH M.S. Swaminathan said the organisation provided a platform for partnership. By education, social mobilisation, partnership and strategies we can eradicate TB, he said.

A TB helpline (9962063000) which would attend to all queries on the disease was also launched by Mr. Ram, with the first call made to actor Suriya who was shooting for a film. The actor said more awareness needs to be created on TB and wished more would use the tool.

Suhasini Manirathnam recalled how she overcame primary complex as a youngster to now create awareness on various health issues. Doctors noted Tamil Nadu has come a long way in its fight against TB and it was also because many people had come to serve without seeking any reward.

Nalini Krishnan, Director-Projects, REACH, Rajesh Lakhoni, Commissioner, Corporation of Chennai, P. Kuganantham, Health Officer, Corporation of Chennai, C. Chinnasamy, State TB Officer, N.A. Senthilnathan, District TB Officer, Chennai, V. Kumaraswami, Director-in-Charge, TRC and S. Sivamurugan, vice-president, REACH were present. A postcard drive was also launched.

The other highlights were a skit on TB by students from MOP Vaishnav College for Women and a performance by DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course) providers.