“Young India Roundtable on Tuberculosis”
New Delhi, March 18, 2016
The Global Coalition of TB Activists (GCTA), in India organized a roundtable meeting of young professionals from the fields of urban planning, young movements, law, nursing, psychological counseling, sustainable habitats and rural development, to discuss the need for a paradigm shift in the approach to the development of Tuberculosis policy in India.
Tuberculosis remains one of the leading causes of death with an estimated 9 million new cases every year. In 2014, 1.5 million people died from TB.1 The END TB Goal is to end the epidemic by 2035. But that will remain a distant dream if its business as usual.
The discussion around TB has been highly medicalized and the younger generation of development professionals have little to no engagement within the national dialog. Historically, India has lagged behind in the uptake of newer diagnostics, newer drugs, and multi-sectoral policies. Mrs. Blessina Kumar, Chair of the GCTA, noted that TB could also be understood as an indicator of the overall effectiveness of public health systems. She said, “Addressing TB is closely linked and dependent on nutrition, education, planning, waste management, public health systems and policy, environment and community mobilization. It is therefore both necessary and relevant to engage with young people across these various sectors.”
Young people play a key and innovative role in driving the development agenda in India and around the world. This roundtable focused on gathering their views and opinions on existing efforts in TB and the public health system in India, and exploring innovative approaches to END TB.
“The Global Plan talks about the need for a paradigm shift in addressing TB. I congratulate GCTA in India for taking the lead in bringing young people from varied sectors to discuss the way forward for Ending TB from their perspectives. This roundtable will lay the foundation for that paradigm shift in India, with more than 50% of population below the age of 30, and the highest burden of TB – in the world”, Dr. Lucica Ditiu, the Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership, Geneva.
World TB Day 2016 theme is “Unite to End TB”, and the Young India Roundtable on TB sparked renewed vigor and enthusiasm in paving the way for a multi-sectoral roadmap to win the war on TB.
The new paradigm was evocatively captured by one of our young panelists who said, “if your programs do not have the customer, in this case the TB patient at the centre, you have lost the game even before you started!”
1 Global Tuberculosis Report 2015, World Health Organization, Switzerland