Today’s guest blog comes from Sunita Prasad, senior manager for Lilly’s MDR-TB Partnership in India.
Tuberculosis (TB) continues to pose a monumental global health challenge. The disease affected nine million people in 2013, and claimed 1.5 million lives. In India, 1,000 people die of TB daily, though the disease is fully curable.
Journalists have a vital role to play in raising awareness and turning the tide on TB—and Lilly has educated, trained, and partnered with more than 400 journalists worldwide to increase and improve media coverage of TB and deadly multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).
Compelling media campaigns can create awareness about TB, change attitudes, and promote healthy behaviour—all of which are critical to ensuring early and effective treatment and preventing the development of MDR-TB. Since 2010, we have held the REACH Lilly MDR-TB Partnership Media Awards to recognize the contribution of India’s leading journalists, who work tirelessly to bring to life the real stories of persons living with TB, and to create the vital sense of urgency that motivate official health campaigns.
This year, we were honoured to be joined by Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda—and more than 100 key TB stakeholders—in proudly recognizing the following winners:
- Gunjan Sharma for her meticulously researched and detailed story ‘Does anyone care?’ published in The Week in July 2014 where she examined the growing challenges that India faces in responding to TB.
- Priyanka Vora for her story ‘Drug-resistant despair’, published in Hindustan Times in December 2014 where she addressed the challenge of stigma by offering a detailed account of the loneliness and fear that those affected by TB experience.
Local language category
- Sajil C for his comprehensive account ‘Controlling TB: Kerala faces new challenges’ published in Mathrubhumi Arogyamasika in December 2014 where he drew attention to the difficulties that migrant workers in the state face in accessing healthcare services.
- Raju Kumar for his account ‘Not exorcism but medicines will help to eradicate TB’ published in Madhya Pradesh Sandesh in April 2014 where he told the story of a woman’s discovery of the public health system and the free, high-quality treatment it offers for diseases like TB.
We congratulate these brave journalists for their outstanding reporting on TB. We hope their tireless efforts will inspire the next generation of young journalists to use their talents to tell the stories that must be told—and pursue a career that can truly transform lives.