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India has the world’s highest rate of tuberculosis (TB), accounting for more than a quarter of the global TB burden. Despite being preventable and curable, every three minutes, two people are dying of TB in India. 


India is the world’s largest democracy and has been one of the fastest-growing economies in recent years. However, due to its large population of over one billion people and uneven distribution of economic growth, the country is classified by the World Bank as a “lower middle-income” country.

While health indicators have improved, the burden of communicable diseases is a matter of great concern. India is home to one of the highest incidence rates of tuberculosis worldwide, with around two million new cases per year. It also has the highest recorded rate of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

Credit: IRCS TB Community Awareness Sessions

The Red Cross in India                                                          

Since early 2015, the Irish Red Cross has been assisting the Indian Red Cross in their effort to combat the spread of TB and to further control MDR-TB through a prevention and management of TB programme. The programme supports awareness, care and support, patient counselling, information and education activities, screening camps and discussion sessions at the government health facility within the designated TB units.

The project focuses on difficult to reach and low performing areas of two districts namely, Amritsar and Jalandhar in Punjab State.

Our TB Prevention Programme

Over the past year, 15 Red Cross volunteers successfully counselled thousands of TB patients, encouraging them to continue their treatment till completion. They were educated on the hygiene etiquettes like use of cloth or handkerchief while coughing or sneezing, use of spittoons at public places, maintain social distancing, keep themselves away from children etc. Besides this, they were also told about the importance of nutritious healthy diet and regular medicines. The volunteers held over 2,000 counselling sessions at DOT centres and carried out 3,000 home visits to TB patients, helping to reduce the social stigma often associated. 

Education to Family Members

In addition to counselling of TB patients, their family members were also enlightened about the importance of regular treatment of TB patients. They were further informed that precautionary measures are not only required by the TB patients but also by the family members of TB patients to avoid further transmission of TB disease.

Patient Care Support – Measurement of Weight

The Red Cross volunteers were provided portable weighing scales to keep regular monitoring of TB patients by frequently checking their weight. The patients observed to be losing weight were specially counselled to maintain their nutritious diet.

In some cases, volunteers even arranged the nutritious diet for some TB patients by spending money from their own sources. Similarly, in some cases even the RCVs sought help from some local NGOs to arrange ration etc. for the TB patients. 

 Awareness Activities

The Theme for World Tuberculosis Day 2024 is “Yes! We Can End TB.” The theme carries a message of hope. It emphasizes the possibility of getting back on track in the fight against the TB epidemic. 

Credit: Distribution of nutrition kits to TB patients, IRCS

The main objective of event was to spread awareness among the people suffering with TB and to make them aware about the global impact of this disease. The patients were told how to control the disease, and what support efforts could be taken by them to prevent this.

At the end Nutrition Kits were distributed to the TB Patients which conveyed a powerful message that depicted the general attitude towards TB patients.

*Updated May 2024