When Celebrities, Ministers Came Together To ‘Bowl Out TB’

As per WHO's Global TB Report 2016, India accounts for 24 per cent of all TB cases in the world.

Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh: At the picturesque Dharamshala Cricket Stadium in Himachal Pradesh, a T20 cricket match was held between Mumbai XI and the members of Parliament (MPs 11) this weekend. The match was held as part of a national campaign to increase commitment towards ending tuberculosis in India.

Members of Parliament, artists from the film and TV fraternity, experts, corporates and TB survivors came together to spread awareness about the disease.

The match was a part of a two-day national TB Summit that was attended by Health Minister JP Nadda, Union Minister Rajeev Pratap Rudy, Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore and Himachal Pradesh Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur.

Mumbai XI, lead by actor Bobby Deol, stormed through towards an easy victory over the MPs XI, led by Lok Sabha member Anurag Thakur.

Actors Bobby Deol, Sonu Sood, Aftab Shivdasani and Suniel Shetty were among the celebrities who participated in the match.

A crowded stadium stood as both the team pledged their support to increase awareness about the disease, strive for its elimination and increase multi-sectoral participation.

Deepti Chavan was diagnosed with TB at the age of 16. Talking about the stigma she faced, Ms Chavan said at the event, “My extended family advised that I should not talk about my TB diagnosis. They said it will be a life-long stamp and my parents will not be able to find a suitable match.”

“People listen to actors and pay attention to what their message is. At least now there would be awareness that people are no longer infectious to other and can lead a normal life,” said Ms Chavan who is a Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB Survivor.

Deepti is now married to a loving man who married her with full knowledge about her condition and actively supports her in her advocacy.

“I have learnt so much about tuberculosis through this summit and I am sure if all stakeholders work together, we will have a TB free India,” said actor Aftab Shivdasani.

Jose Luis Castro, Executive Director at The Union said on the occasion, “If we want to address TB stigma in India and improve diagnosis, we need to engage all stakeholders to increase awareness and knowledge about the disease.”

The MPs team won the toss and elected to bat first with ex-cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin taking the charge as an opener along with cricketer Prashant Chopra who chose to bat for the parliamentarians.

A corporate sector dialogue was also part of the Summit, bringing together corporates that have committed to support the Government of India’s ‘Call to Action for a TB-free India’ campaign.

Venkat Rolla, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Omkar Foundation told NDTV, “We conduct health camps that create awareness about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘End TB by 2025’ initiative in slum areas. It includes conducting of  X-ray tests on slum dwellers but we in the process of starting the sputum tests within a few weeks too.”

Mumbai XI team was led by actor Bobby Deol while MPs 11’s captain was BJP leader Anurag Thakur.

Speaking at the event, MP Anurag Thakur said, “This is the first TB-Free India Summit and we will work together to eliminate TB from India. Regardless of which team wins at the Summit, the goal is to bowl out TB.”

The Summit emphasized the need to take the public-private partnership further by involving various stakeholders to increase awareness about tuberculosis among employees, catchment areas and also raise domestic resources to combat TB around us.

As per WHO’s Global TB Report 2016, India accounts for 24 per cent of all TB cases in the world. Almost 5,000 TB deaths are reported globally daily, with India alone having an alarming 1,400 of them.

However, the incidence of TB in India is declining at the rate of about 2 per cent per year and there is a need to accelerate progress to reach the national strategic plan to eliminate the disease by 2025.