Friday, March 27, 2009

Tuberculosis needs politicians to Stop it

World TB Day 200: Start of a new campaign to highlight missing political leadership
HIV Positive people who work at grassroots level advocacy, have launched a Nation-wide campaign to bring in more political accountability to Tuberculosis control.

These workers belong to the India Network of Positive People (INP +) and were trained to carry out this important campaign under the ACTION project or Advocacy to control TB Internationally.

During the campaign these workers will fan out to each of the 540 Lok Sabha constituencies in India and record the contribution of the respective MPs in controlling TB in their constituencies. The MP’s will be approached with a questionnaire.

“We have 18 questions for our MP’s. Let them answer and tell us how much they care for the people who die of TB everyday”, said Elango Ramachander one of the workers of the campaign.

The parameters on which political accountability will be measured are enunciated in the 6 C’s, which are: Consciousness, Communication, Campaign, Cooperation, Championing and Capacity Building. The MPS would be rated on each of these roles.

The campaign coincides with the election process in the country and was rolled out on World TB Day, March 24th, 2009 from New Delhi. Different functions like rallies of TB patients and grassroots workers were organized to mark the launch of the campaign across 24 states in India.

“Nearly a 1000 people still die of TB every day in India, Politicians can’t absolve themselves of their responsibility to help control this epidemic”, said Dr. Bobby John representing the ACTION project.

“Providing high quality drugs and labs through the Revised National Tuberculosis Program, is only partially doing the job of stemming the epidemic. To ensure greater access to treatment and to motivate greater demand, political leadership is required at the constituency level”, he said.

The results of the campaign will be compiled to bring out a baseline report card of political leadership for TB control in India, which will serve as a guide to the forthcoming parliament. “We need to hear very clearly what our current leaders and their parties are doing to control a disease that is very dangerous for us, and for all Indians,” said Daxa Patel of the Gujarat Network for People Living with HIV AIDS.

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