Mumbai

Big B, Ratan Tata join hands for TB- free India

Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma and industrialist Ratan Tata during a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The United States Ambassador to India, Richard Varma on Thursday launched the 'Mumbai Dialogue: Towards a TB-free India' along with Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts.

Aiming to engage the corporate sector to further strengthen the Government of India's 'Call to Action for a tuberculosis free India,' a group of corporate leaders joined the trio for a dialogue to engage this sector directly in effort to eradicate TB.

TB has been one of the deadliest diseases in India. As per the figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) global TB report 2014, around 2.40 lakh Indians die every year and 61,000 suffer from multidrug resistant TB.

"United States has invested close to $100 million in last 18 years to prevent and control TB. It has helped over 15 million people. But still a lot needs to be done and only government alone cannot do it as it needs multi-sectoral approach, in which public and private partners need to collaborate," said Mr. Varma.

Mr. Bachchan who himself was a victim of TB in the year 2000, said that "if this disease can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. While we all have a role to play, I must say that those who work on ground to detect TB patients and treat them are very important in this fight," said the actor.

Calling the need of collective response to this epidemic by corporates and communities, Mr. Tata said that while this disease does not differentiate between the rich and poor, it is a significant economic drain on the latter section. "It results in discrimination at schools, workplaces and within societies. We will do everything possible in our capacity to make this battle against TB, a success," he added.

The Call to Action for a TB-Free India campaign is an initiative led by GoI to engage corporate, civil society and community leaders to end TB in the country. The call to action will culminate in a National Summit in March 2016.

Dr. Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services, GoI, said that India witnesses four TB patients' death per minute. "I am sure that the private sector and corporate would adopt slums and different districts of India for comprehensive TB control as part of their CSR and supplement the efforts," he said.

Mr Bachchan has worked as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF India for eradicating polio. The social awareness campaign powered by the actor since 2002 proved to be highly successful, with reported polio cases shrinking from 1000 cases in 2002 to 1 case in 2011. In March 2014, the World Health Organisation declared India polio free after not a single case was reported for three consecutive years. He along with Sachin Tendulkar have also signed up as Tiger Ambassadors for Maharashtra government to promote tiger conservation this year.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 1:07:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/amitabh-bachchan-ratan-tata-join-hands-for-tb-free-india/article7637763.ece

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