A round-table on reporting on Tuberculosis (TB) here on Thursday laid stress on sharing effective information with media about the menace.
The journalists participated in the round table expressed displeasure for not adequately updating the media with latest updated information by the health department as well as the government agencies working on TB.
Over 20 journalists attended the round-table organised by the Resource Group for Education and Advocacy on Community Health (REACH) and USAID.
The objective of the round-table was to provide journalists with updated information on TB, including new developments in India’s response to the disease.
Dr Jayalakshmi Shreedhar, medical doctor and journalism trainer, and Dr Dhrubo Jyoti Dekha, WHO Consultant, led the discussions.
“The government, civil society and the media should collaborate to make Assam the first state in India to be declared TB-Free. There is certainly a knowledge gap on TB. In our rush to prioritise treatment and reach, we left the media behind. It is high time we work hand-in-hand,” said Dr NJ Das, SPO Assam (RNTCP).
Dr.Dhruba Jyoti Deka in his speech emphasised the unique aspects of TB in Assam with focus on vulnerable populations in tea gardens and riverine areas.
“We (the media and the government) need to work together and organise more trainings on TB for media persons to generate awareness in populations in vulnerable areas,” Deka said.
The roundtable also featured a panel discussion that brought together senior journalists, State TB Cell officials and a TB survivor.
Dr Jayalakshmi Shreedhar said her speech said though there has been an increase in the coverage on health, TB has not managed to keep pace.
“The media can sensitize the public about TB, including DR-TB, new diagnostic techniques such as CBNAAT and free treatment facilities available in the public health sector,” she said.
Since 2009, REACH has been working closely with the media to improve the quality and frequency of media reporting on TB. REACH has supported journalists with the information that is required to report more frequently on TB, a disease that kills over 1,400 Indians every day.