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The Union supporting TB-free villages in India

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Villages across India are being supported to become tuberculosis-free, as part of a wider self-sufficiency drive.

The Union, through the USAID India supported iDEFEAT TB Project and Corporate TB Pledge, is providing technical assistance to implement the Amrita SeRVe (Self-Reliant Villages) programme in 115 villages selected across India. The programme is specifically focusing on health, education, water and sanitization, agriculture, eco-friendly infrastructure, income generation and self-empowerment.

TB-free village project begins

The three-year programme (2023-2025) aims to strengthen existing local resources, ensure community ownership and address the social determinants of tuberculosis (TB).

Dr Jyoti Jaju, Project Director, iDEFEAT TB at The Union, said: “It is fantastic to be part of a project that is truly going to make a difference to the people of India. There is a lot of hard work to do, but with the support from the community we can achieve TB-free villages.

“I hope this approach will become a model for other villages, regions and countries to implement and end TB.”

The main programme activities include:

  1. Empowering community volunteers and supporting staff on TB prevention and control – Enabling them to serve as the key promoters for the effort to create TB-free villages
  2. Fostering community ownership of actions to end TB – Mobilising and strengthening the role of the local administration against TB through training volunteers
  3. Public health actions to address social determinants of TB in the villages – Targeted activities for ensuring sustainable TB-free villages, focusing on:
  • Malnutrition / Lack of Nutrition
  • Poor Housing conditions leading to crowding
  • Tobacco and other drug abuses
  • Poverty
  • Unhygienic practices and conditions

The four pilot villages were identified and, their existing resources and needs to carry out the intervention were assessed.

As of September, with the technical support of The Union, capacity building of the zonal and village level coordinators has been undertaken. The broad indicators to carry out the intervention in the four villages were identified and the action plan to implement the intervention is being developed. Active on-ground implementation is expected to begin within the next six months.

The Amrita SeRVe programme was established by Amrita Hospitals as part of their Corporate TB Pledge. The TB-Free Village intervention is in alignment with the ‘TB Mukt Panchayat Initiative’ launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India at the World TB Day Event on 24 March 2023. The TB Mukt Panchayat Initiative is being promoted as one of the key strategies to make every small geography/ panchayat TB-free to achieve the overarching goal of TB elimination in India.