REACH has the multifaceted approach to include the different stakeholders in its efforts to put end to TB. On this front, TB forums are the support groups formed by REACH under the Axshya Project. TB Forums are the group of people from different walks such as Educationist, Lawyers, Business men, Rotarians, TB Patients, retired government official etc joined together to support TB patients. The members of the forums are voluntarily join together to work for TB Free society.

REACH formed fourteen TB forums in the fourteen districts of Tamil Nadu where the project Axshya has been implemented. The support to TB patient rendered at various magnitudes such as nutritious support, medicinal support, advocacy etc.  The people from different walks of life added strength to TB forums to lobbying the issue multi dimensionally.

Some of the TB forums are themselves registered under Trust or Society Act with the help of REACH Axshya District coordinators. Such forums are located in Thanjavur, Madurai, Dindigul, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Vellore and Krishnagiri. Each forum focuses on unique activities to make the environment conducive to the TB patients.

Basically these TB forums undertake the multidimensional activities for the benefit of TB patients.

At the Advocacy level

  • At Madurai, the forum focused their activity around IEC. In collaborating with RNTCP, the forum prints IEC materials to distribute to the public for making them aware of TB and how it can be curable.
  • As majority of the Forum members at Thanjavur are business based, they pool money as a donation for the activities. They used to conduct health camp, keeping the TB screening as a main component. Apart from these, activities such as cleaning the campus of Designated Microscopic Centres (DMCs), appointing community volunteers for sputum transportation etc are undertaken by the forum depending upon the need of the hour.
  • The forum presided by the Health Educator retired from RNTCP in Cuddalore so the forum is involved in Advocacy activities widely. The forum correctly intervened at the time of government’s decision of expansion of installing GeneX to Eight districts of Tamil Nadu. A petition requesting the installation of GeneX at Cuddalore was forwarded to the Health Ministry on this regard. The ministry considered the petition and installed a GeneX at Cuddalore.
  • The patients at the government hospital of Vellore suffered of non-availability of nutritious and hygienic food at affordable cost. On this regard, Vellore TB forum members sent a petition to CM cell for opening up an ‘Amma Unavagam’ at the hospital premises. The restaurant was opened fruitfully at the efforts of the members and running now to the benefit of the patients at large and also TB patients particularly.
  • We all know, how important to use mask and gloves for the Lab Technicians while to do the TB testing. Providing these aids to the technicians was not covered by the government regulations. The forum members at Krishnagiri brought this issue into limelight by sending the petition to Department of Health services. On responding to it, Joint Director of Health Services provided the fund of Rs. 75000/- to the Department in order to address the issue at Vellore Government Hospital.
  • Apart from this, there was no water supply at the DOTS centre at Pudukottai and the patient needed to carry water bottle when they go to the centre. The forum members installed R O Plant at the centre to ensure the safe drinking water for the patients. Added to this, government hospital at Thirunelveli was not having water supply. The DOTS+ section which can accommodate 15 MDR inpatients of the hospital suffered due to the non-availability of water for the use. As TB forum of the city consists majority of business men, they pooled money and provided water supply to the benefit of these inpatients.
  • Sensitizing the Public, Private Doctors, Private Lab Technicians on addressing TB to put End to it, has been also undertaken by the TB Forum such as Dindigul TB Forum.

At the Nutritional level

  • Almost all the TB forums support the TB patients keeping up the nutritional level during the treatment period. The TB forums in the places such as Dindigul, Thiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Thirunelveli, Thiruvannamalai, Pudukottai etc provide groceries, cup of channa every day to the patients. We have the classical example of providing even the sandwich daily to the patients by the member of TB forum at Pudukottai who supposed to be the owner of the Bakery. The way of distributing groceries to the patient is very notable. The departmental store of neighbourhood of Patient’s residence will be linked up with the Patient and the store provides the necessary groceries to a patient on the day-to-day basis at the choice of him/her.
  • At Thiruvallur, the MDR patient getting nutritional support, each patient worth of Rs. 1000/- per month and 20 such patients are supported every month during their treatment period (2 years).

To enhance the efforts and advocacy skills of Forum members, two members from Vellore and Krishnagiri were sent for training on TB Advocacy at New Delhi.

It is the seed sown by REACH Axshya, now grown widely with larger branches as the huge banyan providing shelter to the TB patients to lead Cured Healthy Life.

DTC campus at Thanjavur cleaned

Cleaning of District Tuberculosis Centre (DTC) Campus at Thanjavur.

sensitization of Pvt Lab technicians at Dindigul

Sensitization of Private Lab Technicians at Dindigul