Tuberculosis has killed more number of people than any other infectious disease in human history and continues to be responsible for 1.5 million deaths across globe. In 2014, 2.2 million TB cases occurred in India making India the highest TB burden country in the world. Despite the availability of services across the country many cases are being missed. Issues regarding availability and access to TB services in urban areas, areas with migration and other socially and clinically vulnerable population needs to be addressed with focused interventions.

With A new Agenda: Lung health beyond 2015, UNION (International Union Against TB and Lung diseases) organized a five day scientific program in Cape Town, South Africa which addressed how these new agendas will influence the inter related fights against TB, HIV, lung diseases and non-communicable diseases as well as the global campaign for tobacco control. Each year delegates from more than 125 countries gather for this five-day scientific conference, which presents research from every region of the world.

On behalf of CARE India, I participated in this conference to share the learning from our project which we are implementing in the state of West Bengal. Our project titled “Treatment Adherence and follow up of MDR TB patients” is being implemented with support from Lilly MDR TB partnership and under the guidance of state TB cell.

It was during mid of this year when we submitted two abstracts based on the learning from our project and we were very much delighted when both the abstracts got selected for presentation. One in the category of oral abstract presentation and the other for e poster.

We were very much excited as our abstract for the oral presentation was one of the 259 abstracts selected out of 2200 applications. The study “Counselling is associated with improved compliance to early phase of treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis” was selected for the session “Placing the patient at the center of care”

The abstract on “Contribution of chemists/medicine shop owners in TB control program in semi urban areas of West Bengal, India” was selected for the e poster category.

I travelled to Cape Town on 2nd of December carrying with me best wishes from my colleagues who are working with utmost sincerity and passion and with a larger vision to fulfill our dream of achieving TB free India.

Presenting to an international audience has been very encouraging for me personally but the most important feeling which I had is the pride that I represent CARE India who works for the most vulnerable and marginalized population and that I have been able to show case the good work we are doing on the ground.

Dr. Bandita Sengupta