In pictures - World TB Day

By Aradhna Duggal

Nearly 2 million people in India contract TB annually; most of them belong to the country’s poorest communities. The task of controlling TB, therefore, is monumental. The Indian Red Cross Society has been playing a small but important role in the government’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme, by focusing efforts on ensuring treatment adherence among people known as ‘category II’ patients — those who, for whatever reason, stopped previous treatment before being cured or relapsed after treatment was completed.

Read more about the below stories and the Red Cross work in the Red Cross Red Crescent magazine and in this story.

“I got TB (and HIV) because I was an injectable drug user (IDU). In addition, I was smoking cigarettes and consuming bhang (made out of cannabis). I was using for a very long time… It has now been six to seven months since I stopped using,” says Radhe Shyam. Stephen Ryan/IFRC

To ensure that he adheres to his treatment, Gurpreet, a Red Cross volunteer, goes to visit Radhe Shyam at home at least once a week. Gurpreet provides him with psychosocial support, raises awareness on the importance of eating nourishing food and following respiratory etiquette. Gurpreet also assists Radhe Shyam in reaching a medical centre as per treatment schedule. Stephen Ryan/IFRC


Forty-year old Veena suffers from side effects of the TB medication she is taking. “I get a lot of pain in my stomach and I cannot sleep at night. I don’t eat much. The little I do eat – even that I find difficult to eat,” says Veena. Despite the side effects Veena continues to take her medication regularly. “Everyone at home treats me well. My neighbours know of  my TB status but no one discriminates against me. Everyone comes and meets and greets properly,” she adds. In 2013, Red Cross volunteers will reach out to approximately 48,000 community members through meetings, discussions and public events to raise awareness that TB is curable, how to recognize symptoms, promote completion of treatment and reduce stigma and discrimination. Stephen Ryan/IFRC


“I would keep sleeping. I had fever. Then someone told me go to the TB hospital and get myself checked and treated. This person had suffered from TB before. So he recognized the symptoms,” says Manish. Manish runs a tea stall in a bazaar in Amritsar. He was 16- or 17-years old when he was diagnosed with TB and started his treatment. Stephen Ryan/IFRC

“No one in the neighbourhood knows that I have TB. We have kept it very quiet,” says Mahi. “Since we found out that she has TB, it has increased my burden. She is a daughter. She has to get married,” adds her father. TB exacts a devastating social cost – each year more than 100,000 women are rejected by their families. Stephen Ryan/IFRC