TB…why and how we can curb the menace….from the father of Shreeram Radhakrishnan
Dear Friends and Well Wishers,
Who doesn’t want to lead a wonderful and healthy life? Who would like to be suddenly faced with a catastrophic event? Who would want to be faced with an event that would change one’s life, nay the lives of near and dear ones forever? Who would want an event that would snatch away our closest and dearest child? Who would want an event that would give us no choice to us but to lose our most precious belonging?
There can be but one answer only. I wouldn’t like to. No one would like to. And no one will want anyone, even ones enemy, to be a victim of such a calamity.
I have been the victim of a sad tragedy. A tragedy of which we are the victims for no fault of ours. Someone had made a mistake. Someone had not taken his medicines properly as per the doctor’s instructions. And that someone infected our dearest possession with the most dreaded disease that is spreading very fast in India. A disease from which our Son couldn’t escape in spite of the best treatment given and given at the earliest.
We don’t want anyone to undergo this agony, the pain and tribulations which keeps eating a man while he walks around.
This can be prevented. We should do what we can to prevent it. We Rotarians can fight against this dreaded disease like we did against Polio. If we all work together we are bound to succeed. Succeed we will because it is almost impossible to find people as dedicated as Rotarians when it comes to taking up community based issues.
Yes we can and we should. TB kills almost one Indian every minute as per 2015 WHO data. India has the largest number of TB patients in the world. And also India has the dubious distinction of having the maximum number of MDR TB patients in the world. MDR TB is drug resistant form of TB and a great number of patients find it difficult to recover. The medicines for TB have to be taken for a period from 6 to 18 months without a break and sometimes it may be for a longer duration also. Painful injections are also a part of the treatment. The patient will have great difficulty in going for work and considering our Indian conditions there is a great scope for spreading of this infectious disease to all nearby. It takes a toll on the finances of the family also.
Our son was a healthy boy and had not gone a doctor for 6 to 7 years prior to the tragedy that befell us. Eighteen months of suffering. Agony that cannot be described in words.
Let us all take a pledge that we will do our bit to fight the menace of TB. And united we stand as a body we can achieve a great deal. One of the biggest problems why the disease spreads is the lack of awareness. If we can create awareness in the community about the disease we will be contributing a great deal in the fight against the dreaded TB. The Trust ( Shreeram Radhakrishnan Memorial Trust ) that we set up in memory of our Son has been launching Campaigns against the menace of TB along with the Rotary Club of New Bombay Seaside, of which I am a member. If all come together to spread awareness of the menace of TB it would be almost like a “Movement”.
It would be great if doctors and well wishers can conduct TB Awareness Campaigns in:
- In Schools
- In Colleges
- Institutions like – Post Offices, Senior Citizens Associations,..
- If possible in Religious places like Gurudwaras , Churches, ….
The Campaign should include :
- Talk and a presentation (ppt) by a doctor on TB and Question and Answers session. If getting a doctor is a problem attached are good videos on TB in Hindi and Marathi prepared by the Municipal Corporation which can be used.
- Members taking an Oath to spread the message of the menace of TB in the society.
- Distribution of booklets on TB to all participants (Booklets will be forwarded to all clubs by the District. Banners will also be forwarded by District)
- Skit on TB can be presented
It is to be appreciated that spreading awareness of the menace of TB is also in our interest. One TB patient can spread the disease to 15 people in a year and if the 15 get TB then in the next year the number of people afflicted with TB can reach 225!
Remember ….We are safe from TB if others don’t get TB and others are safe if we don’t get TB. Our children can get TB from schools, coaching institutes, theatres or any enclosed spaces. We travel by Uber, Ola….If a person with TB had earlier travelled in the same car ( in the last three hours) then there is a good chance that we may also pick up the bacteria.
Remember that more than 40% of Indians carry within themselves TB bacillus. The TB bacteria is very smart. It lies dormant and if our immunity were to come down due to any reason then the dormant bacilli will start multiplying and will try to devour us.
Creating awareness is a very economical way of fighting this dreaded disease. Other steps such as diagnosing patients with TB, ( which Rotary undertook two years back), giving nutritional supplements, etc. will follow later. TB Campaigns as mentioned above by the Trust and RC of New Bombay Seaside have shown people becoming aware of the menace of TB and some have come forward to seek advice for getting treatment from doctors.
Come…Lets all join hands…and fight this dreaded disease….A few days back our PM has launched the Campaign to make India free of TB by 2025.
( visit our website to know more of our campaigns: TB Awareness Campaigns )