‘TB survivors shrouded in silence’

“My battle with TB was not just physical, but also mental and emotional. I was partially blind and deaf, and I developed thyroid disorders.

To top it all, there was depression and frustration,” said Saurabh Rane, a 24-year-old doctor who fought an extreme form of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB).

Talking about the recent digital release of ‘The long run: a marathon to defeat TB’, a short film that chronicles his struggle, Mr. Rane said: “When I looked around for inspiration or hope, I found none. TB survivors seemed shrouded in silence. That’s why I wanted to tell my story.”

Inspiring others

Explaining the need to make a film about his journey, he said that the aim was to inspire those affected by the disease and reducing the stigma attached to it.

Mr. Rane said that he was just 21 years old when he contracted the disease.

“Not only did I fight TB successfully, but I also ran a half marathon while on treatment. Later, I undertook one of India’s most challenging treks. It’s a story I want to tell,’ said the young doctor.

Short film released

The film also marks the launch of the Survivors Against TB (SATB) campaign, which is a community-led movement. The group includes Mr. Rane and other TB survivors who have defeated tuberculosis in its severest forms.

Based on their experience, these survivors advocate with key stakeholders on the changes necessary to make TB care more accessible and patient-centric.

“Saurabh’s film and other such patient narratives will inspire others to speak out and realise that they are not alone” said Chapal Mehra, convenor of the campaign.

Reaching out

Recently, the SATB also reached out to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with suggestions on what needed to be done to address India’s TB crisis.

“As survivors we know the battle; we know what patients need. There is an urgent need to incorporate survivors’ perspective in TB policies in the country. Hopefully, the government will listen,” says the group.

‘Call to action’

The campaign has also released these suggestions as a ‘Call To Action’ on its website.

The petition includes critical action points, which the survivors have developed based on seven key areas — public awareness within communities, early and accurate diagnosis, addressing drug-resistant TB, providing nutrition and economic support, creating a robust health information system, engaging the private sector, and prioritising changes in TB treatment.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 4:31:37 am |