India's fight against tuberculosis has a superhero - pot bellied Bulgam Bhai who will ask people 'Has it been two weeks'. "The creative challenge was to turn sputum (bulgam), which makes you say 'ughh!', on its head and come up with an idea that can over time and through exposure gain currency of its own," said Radharani Mitra, national creative director, BBC World Service Trust India that launched the campaign.
"It rings a bell in your mind on the right thing to do, if you have been coughing for over two weeks. The person needs to go to a testing centre and give the sputum sample," Mitra said.
TB, an airborne disease that kills two people every three minutes is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis that affects the lungs.
Symptoms include severe cough which lasts for three weeks or longer, producing bloody or discoloured sputum, night sweats, fever, fatigue and weakness, pain in the chest, loss of appetite, and pain in breathing or coughing.
Marred by controversies over totally-drug resistant TB and inadequacy of Directly Observed Treatment Short course (DOTS) for treating TB, India's TB control mission has been taking a bumpy ride in the last five years.
Bulgam Bhai will be the face and voice of the campaign against TB under Project Axshya, an initiative of various civil societies to raise awareness about the need to test for TB in case a person has had cough for two weeks.
Quipped Mitra: "You can love or hate Bulgam Bhai, but you can't be indifferent to him."