Coming on the heels of the announcement of a National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis (TB) Elimination 2017-25, the TB-Free India Summit brought together some of the popular faces of Bollywood and Members of Parliament for the two discussions on what can be done to end Tuberculosis by 2025.
The discussions were followed with a friendly cricket match to create awareness about the disease.
‘TB can be spread through cough so if you are putting handkerchief on your mouth while sneezing then you are cutting down 90 percent of TB.’
The initiative has been conceptualised by the three-time MP and former BCCI President Anurag Thakur in consultation with Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, who is taking forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a TB-free India.
"TB is perhaps the country's most severe health issue. In the last few years, we have made significant efforts to eliminate this disease, including making it compulsory to notify TB cases, improving diagnostic services and strengthening drug resistance surveillance.
"But more needs to be done. Let us work together to put an end to the tragic suffering and loss of life that are the result of this disease," said Thakur.
A.K. Jha, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, also briefed on how the government of India is planning to put a ban on spitting to curb the disease from growing.
"TB can be spread through cough so if you are putting handkerchief on your mouth while sneezing then you are cutting down 90 percent of TB. We are thinking of putting a ban on spitting. There are three states which already have this law -- Goa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal," he said.
The summit is jointly hosted by the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) and The International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), as a part of the Call to Action for a TB-Free India campaign being implemented under the stewardship of Central TB Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
While the day one on Friday saw some of the speakers talking about the steps to create more awareness about TB, the day two will see Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda along with other union ministers attending the summit along with MPs and Bollywood celebrities.
They will flag off the #INDIAvsTB T20 cricket match where MPs in the MPs' XI team lead by Thakur will face off against the Mumbai Heroes celebrity team led by actor Bobby Deol at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium here.
"I am really glad that I am part of this campaign. In our country, TB is treated like an outcast and this feeling is really sad. It's something which can be cured. People in our country love Bollywood and cricket so I thought what better way than to create awareness amongst people of India through this medium," said Bobby.
"It is the biggest high as an actor to give back to society. You need to be treated right when suffering from TB. We believe that something will happen and we believe that this initiative will make difference," Suniel Shetty added.