Bobby Ramakant, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Later this month, health ministers of our governments will convene for World Health Assembly (WHA) to shape the agenda of the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as elect its new leader as Dr Margaret Chan's tenure as WHO Director-General comes to an end. During Dr Chan's leadership of WHO, adoption of the WHO End TB Strategy in WHA 2014 and world leaders coming together to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at UN General Assembly 2016, are among the key milestone moments.
Governments' committing to end TB by 2030 (as per the promises made in the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs and WHO End TB Strategy) is indeed welcome but not enough as current rate of TB decline is a fraction of the required rate of TB decline for ending TB by 2030.
Mark A White, Mission Director of US Agency for International Development (USAID) in India shared an old wisdom: "If you do what you did, you will get what you got" calling for innovations to help us collectively meet the promises for ending TB. Mark was among the key speakers at the TB Free India Summit organized in Dharamshala, Kangra, in Himachal Pradesh, India. This innovative event brought together film stars, parliamentarians, private sector representatives, TB survivors, public health experts, media, and a range of other stakeholders. This event also leveraged upon popular game of cricket to amplify key TB messages.
Keeping workforce healthy is smart business sense!
Learning lessons where public health interventions gave better outcomes is a smart thing to do. Evidence shows that both public health and business interests are served better if mining industries prioritise health of their workforces. Jose Luis Castro, Executive Director of the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union) said that TB often affects people in the most economically productive years. "When workers get sick then companies suffer, and families suffer. Just like we have seen in the mining companies in South Africa, that are starting to initiate programmes to protect health of their workforces, we need India's corporate sector to help workforces to protect themselves. I urge you to consider workplace programmes to help prevent TB. It's possible that you may even see this as another form of value investment because you may have better staff retention and higher productivity."
"Keeping workforce healthy is not only central to social justice and equity, but also makes a smart business sense!" said Shobha Shukla, Executive Director of CNS (Citizen News Service).
Innovations plugging gaps in Kangra