Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia

by Operation ASHA
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Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia
Treating 3500 Poor TB Patients in India & Cambodia


Dear Donor,
We are all passing through a difficult phase where COVID-19 has taken the entire world in its grip.
Operation ASHA, its staff and communities have all joined in the fight against this pandemic.
At the same time, we continue to provide end to end services of high quality to our TB patients and their families and communities. In our tradition of developing and implementing unique innovations, this World TB Day, we are making our eCounselling videos available to the entire world. This video-based counselling has also been built into an eCounselling software application which can be run on any Android device.
Use of these videos to counsel patients before the onset of TB treatment, during treatment and before the onset of continuation phase improved adherence among intervention group by 9%, in a random
distribution, with all other conditions remaining same, ceteris parabus.

The eCounselling application was launched country wide in Cambodia on May 9 last year
treatment). Not only that, it has also been used in India, Afghanistan and Zambia. Since then we have
made critical improvements in the eCounselling software. eCounselling Application support has been
provided so far to 18465 patients with nearly 5600 hours of watch time.

These videos and the eCounselling application are a gift from our partner,  QualComm Wireless Reach , to the world.

At this time, we are making the videos available to every TB patient, health worker, trainers, experts and organizations globally. Stay tuned for the release of videos in Hindi and Marathi and
the eCounselling software.  

Click here to download the videos and join us in improving the lives of TB patients world over.


Awards and Media mentions: 

Operation ASHA won the FIFTH ESTATE GRANT of HCL Foundation in the Health category at HCL
Technologies. It was an honour for our CEO, Mr Sandeep Ahuja, to receive the award from Shri Shiv
Nadar, Ms Roshni Nadar, and the living legend Shri Kapil Dev.

OpASHA's unique model was recognized by USAID - US Agency for International Development in a case study that noted "Operation ASHA’s key strength is the
combination of community empowerment, biometric technology, and fingerprint identification to track
adherence to medication and ultimately decrease the burden of TB in communities and the prevalence
of MDR-TB& quot;
Read the full article here (Page-99 to 102)
On this “World TB Day” Operation ASHA’s CEO, Sandeep Ahuja, wrote an article on how Coronavirus Pandemic can teach us about fighting older enemies and how India has to address a set of challenges and move quickly to achieve the seemingly impossible target of TB eradication in the next five years.
The article was published on two eminent media platforms, News18 and Indian Express Pharma.
Read the full article here:
The findings of a case study on Operation ASHA undertaken by World Bank and Harvard Business
School says, “Patients enrolled at biometric-equipped centers are 25% less likely to interrupt
treatment". The study further notes biometric tracking decreases data forgery. Full paper can be
accessed here-
Operation ASHA has helped hundreds of poor persons and families of TB patients through financial
support for rent & rations during lockdown. Preventing migration of vulnerable population is necessary to control Corona Pandemic in India. This is an ongoing initiative.
Ripple Effect Images, an US based charitable organization wrote an article on how Operation is going the extra mile to treat isolated communities in Cambodia and beyond.
Operation ASHA has been Fighting TB Worldwide & delivering results cost-effectively across multiple metrics for several years now. In recognition of this, it has been a recipient of Platinum level Seal of transparency accorded by Guide Star USA.

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Panel Discussion on Role of technology in TB
Panel Discussion on Role of technology in TB

We are privileged to be doing the work we do: screening disadvantaged people for Tuberculosis (TB) and treating them. We work in slums, villages, mountains, and islands, with people of all religions and castes; we serve joyfully with love in our hearts for all. Apart from India, we have trodden rocky paths in rural Cambodia, war-torn Afghanistan, and remote villages of Tanzania and Zambia. Our results are a revelation. We serve more than 12 million people, we have the highest treatment success rate in the world, and both the death rate and spread of infection is going down dramatically in our areas.

Saving lives is important and that’s what we do. But there are 3 other reasons why TB treatment matters:

1.    Bridging the gender gap:

In many marginalized communities, boys are encouraged to play outside, study, and take up jobs. Girls are expected to stay home. Our Community Health Workers (CHWs) belong to the communities they serve. They encourage women and girls to step outside their homes, go for walks, read books, and play and connect with their peers. They insist that fresh air is important for health, and this works! For the first time, we found that women were spending quality time in going for small walks and engaging in outdoor activities, and within the families themselves, girls were given the same freedom as boys. 

2.  Connecting women across socio-religious barriers:

CHWs encourage regular interactions between women who are TB patients themselves or who have a family member suffering from TB. They help and support each other, do hand-holding, give encouragement and advice. It’s a long and difficult journey, and they realize they need each other. Often there are tensions running high between different religious groups, but our work promotes goodwill and fosters empathy through shared experiences and promoted camaraderie.               

3. Empowering women to work and earn:

TB treatment is a poverty alleviation program. Treated patients get health and dignity, they get their jobs back. And when it is women who are working and earning, you can imagine the kind of respect they get from their families. Now no-one can ill-treat them or discriminate against them in any way. 
With more than 10 million new cases each year, TB has become a behemoth. We need your support, and we need it urgently. Every step is a step forward towards curing the worldwide TB epidemic. I hope you will join hands with me in this much needed endeavour. 


Patient Story:

A 44-year-old female- Ms. A lives in New Delhi with her husband and 3 children. Her husband being an alcoholic, she is the sole earning member of the family. She works as a household helper to support her family. Slowly her health started deteriorating and she could barely walk to work. There was no money even to buy food for her family. 

 In the meanwhile, OpASHA’s community provider reached her during routine Active Case Finding activity. Our provider then collected her sputum and took it for testing in the nearest facility. It was found to be positive for TB

Our Provider explained to her & her family that TB is fully curable, and that the treatment is completely free. She was offered detailed counselling using the eCounselling application. She was also explained about the precautions to be taken in order to prevent infecting her family members. All queries raised by her were resolved by the provider. Ms.A was completely relieved on finding out that the provider will come to her house on a daily basis to administer the TB medication. She was then started on treatment by registering on eCompliance.

Ms.A now takes her medicines regularly. She is very optimistic about being cured of TB and resuming her work soon.

 OpASHA’s Representation on National and International Platforms:

  • Our CEO attended a conference at Las Vegas, organized by Tableau Foundation. The discussion on use of data by NGOs practically started with Tableau's work with Operation ASHA.


  •  Operation ASHA’s President recently wrote a blog for The Hippocratic Post, a global blogging site featuring world -leading expert opinion on Health issues and medical breakthroughs. She highlighted 3 reasons why treating TB is important, apart from the usual ones, that of healing patients.…/3-other-reasons-why-trea…/


  • Operation ASHA won the SABERA Award, 2019. The illustrious Jury rated us as the top health care NGO of large size (Budget over Rs. 5 Crore pa). This has been possible because of our frontline workers, who spend 30 to 50 minutes, to counsel each patient and family. In a random allocation of patients, the adherence of those provided eCounselling went up by 9 percent, without any other intervention being used, ceteris paribus. This proves how patient centered interventions, which might seem simple, have massive impact. For this purpose, nine short videos on critical aspects of TB have been combined into an eCounselling application. The moment a patient is registered for treatment, the system makes it compulsory to provide eCounselling. At the beginning and end, as well as thrice in between at random, workers and patients have to give their fingerprint.This improves attention of both workers and patients towards counselling.
    We have no doubt that Operation ASHA is set to move the world towards TB eradication. ,


  • Operation ASHA’s Director Technology & Development,recently wrote a blog for Tableau Foundation, an international software company, headquarters in Washington USA. She has explained how Operation ASHA is improving the detection of TB in India in collaboration with Tableau Volunteers. Please read the full blog here:…/improving-tuberculosis-detection-…



  • Operation ASHA’s lifesaving work in TB was published in Agence France-Presse (AFP), an international news agency headquartered in Paris.



  • Operation ASHA, in collaboration with Qualcomm Wireless Reach, organized an event in New Delhi to disseminate the eCounselling technology. The Board of Operation ASHA, different donors from India & abroad, other dignitaries like state government officials working in the TB space attended the event.
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Mr. XYZ, a 32 year old man lives in Kumaharpura, Gwalior. There are 6 other members in his family, his wife, his parents, one younger sister and one elder brother with his wife. His father is an auto driver. He is a vegetable seller. Mr. XYZ got infected with TB about 1.5 years back and started his treatment from a government health facility. He continued the treatment for 2-3 months but when there was a little improvement in his health conditions, he started taking liquor and dropped the medicines in between. After few months his health conditions started deteriorating. This affected his livelihood as he could not go for his work of selling vegetables and his other daily works as well.

One day, our Provider, Mr. ABC, during his routine visit for Active Case Finding, visited Mr. XYZ’s community and identified him as symptomatic. Based on her symptoms, Mr. ABC asked him to get tested. Mr. XYZ refused and shared his past experience of swallowing so many medicines, but nothing worked. When Mr. ABC spoke to his family members he came to know that actually he could not completed his treatment and started taking liquor during the treatment. Our Provider somehow managed to convince him for getting tested. Her sputum sample was tested positive. He was detected with extreme level of pulmonary TB (3+). Although, he was detected with TB but still he was not ready to take medicines because of his past experience of swallowing so many medicines on daily basis.

Unfortunately, his wife left him and his family members were also not willing to live with him. Our Provider tried to convince him and his family and assured that if he would take medicines as per the guidance of our Provider, he will be definitely get cured. After a lot of convincing Mr. XYZ started his treatment with Operation ASHA. Our Provider registered him on eCompliance in 3rd week of September and counseled him along with his family members. During the counselling he asked a lot of questions. Our Provider gave answers of his each and every question which helped him to understand all the aspects of TB and its treatment. After undergoing video counselling, he felt very confident and relaxed and took his first dose with Operation ASHA. His family members were also satisfied and thanked to our provider for showing the informative videos and for his helping nature. They said that their decision of not living with him was wrong. Mr. XYZ said that he didn’t know so many things about TB which he came to know only after counselling and interacting with our Provider. He said happily that he would follow every suggestion of our Provider and will complete his treatment. He said to our provider, “I believe that with you I can get cured and can continue my work.”

Now it’s been around 2 months, he is taking the medicine properly. His health is improving and he is feeling better now.

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Life is challenging. The path we have chosen is fraught with difficulties. But we have succeeded against odds. Operation Asha is going from strength to strength. And we have to thank you for your support, good wishes and blessings.

 In Cambodia, our innovation garners government support

We developed 24 ecounselling videos to support patients and their families in their path to recovery. These are animation videos which cover all aspects of Tuberculosis (TB), how does it happen, how to prevent it from spreading, why adherence is important and so on. These videos also address issues of stigma and discrimination. Early this year, these videos were translated in Khmer and inaugurated in Phnom Penh in a glittering function attended by senior government officials, the Indian Ambassador, representatives of hospitals and NGOs, and the media. The Director of the National TB Control Programme of Cambodia formally inaugurated the videos and gave a resounding speech that met with applause and cheers and foot thumping appreciation. He went on to say that he desires every health worker in the Government and from every hospital to use these videos to counsel the patient and the family is in a comprehensive manner.

The Director also inaugurated Knight Wolf, the educational comic book created with support from our donors & well-wishers. The comic book generated a lot of excitement both amongst children who had TB and also children of TB patients. Thousands of comic books are being printed and distributed to children in Cambodia.

  We set our foot in Zambia

Following the visit of a 3 member team from Zambia, we have entered into collaboration with the local NGO for implementation of our technology and the entire model. The National TB Program in Zambia has also offered full support. This will help us reach many more TB patients in Africa

 Media Mentions

  • Our technology - 'eCompliance Suite' has been featured in Siemens Stiftung's Empowering People Network! They write about how it provides end to end TB services like detection, counselling and adherence to the treatment protocol. However, it is not limited to TB. It has been used by pharmaceutical company Baxter to track adherence to the treatment protocol of haemophilia. It has been used by Columbia University in Telangana to identify chronic absentees and thus improve school attendance via follow-ups. It has also been used by the Karnataka government to provide nutritional packets to pregnant women. Its possibilities for customization are limitless.


  • Our President, Dr Shelly Batra, was invited to Geneva to showcase our work during the World Health Assembly. This was during a breakfast session organized by USAID and General Electric. Dr Batra demonstrated how we extensively use technology to improve results and outcomes in tuberculosis. She showcased eCounselling, the animation videos that we use to deliver vital information on all aspects of TB, and eCompliance, the world famous biometric technology to monitor every dose taken and prevent Drug Resistant TB. Our work generated a lot of interest among Delegates from across the world, including Researchers, NGOs, Corporates, and even high level Government Officials.


  • Our CEO, Mr Sandeep Ahuja, was invited to represent Operation ASHA at a networking workshop by Siemens Foundation in Cairo, Egypt.


  • Our President Dr Shelly Batra was recently in Lavaur, France. She was invited as a speaker at the 2019 Global South eHealth Observatory Conference, organised by Fondation Pierre Fabre. This year the focus of the conference was on "Capacity Building & Data Sharing for Efficient and Sustainable e-Health". Dr Batra explained that how Operation ASHA's unique model of technology provides real time accurate data to monitor the day to day work and calculate the results efficiently. This makes us very cost effective, helps us to serve the poorest of the poor, save thousands of lives and thus sustainable.


Patient Story

A 19 year old young girl lives in Chauhan Colony, Bhiwandi. There are three other members in her family, her parents and one elder brother. Her father is a rickshaw puller. She is pursuing her B.A. second year. She got infected with TB and started her treatment from a private clinic. She continued the treatment for five months but there was no improvement in her health condition. This affected her studies as she could not attend her college and her other daily work as well.

One day, our Provider- during her routine visit for Active Case Finding, visited this girl's community and identified her as symptomatic. Based on her symptoms, the provider asked the girl to get tested. She refused and shared her past experience of getting so many tests done, swallowing so many medicines, but nothing worked. Our Provider somehow managed to convince her for getting tested. Her sputum sample was tested negative but TB was diagnosed through x-ray. The test result was positive and she was detected with pulmonary negative TB. Although, she was detected with TB but still she was not ready to take medicines because of her past experience.

Our Provider tried to convince her and assured her that if she would take medicines as per the guidance of our Provider, she will be definitely get cured. This young girl soon started her treatment with Operation ASHA. Our Provider registered her on eCompliance in May and counseled her along with her family members. During the counselling she asked a lot of questions. Our Provider gave answers of each and every question which helped her to understand all the aspects of TB and its treatment. After undergoing video counselling, she felt very confident and relaxed and took her first dose with Operation ASHA. She said that she didn’t know so many things about TB which she came to know only after counselling and interacting with our Provider. She confirmed that she would follow every suggestion of our Provider and will complete her treatment. She said, “I believe that with you I can get cured and can continue my studies.”

Now it’s been around 3 months, she is taking the medicine properly. Her health is improving and she is feeling better now. She has started going to her college to complete her studies. She wants to become a teacher.

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Dr. Shelly speaking at HITLAB summit
Dr. Shelly speaking at HITLAB summit

Dear Friend, 

Operation ASHA is back with an update.

We in Operation ASHA believe in inclusion, diversity, and equitable distribution not just of resources but of health solutions for all. To this end we are serving marginalized communities irrespective of colour, caste, creed, religion, political beliefs or socio-economic status. Our community health workers are the backbone of our organisation. They themselves belong to diverse backgrounds. They carry out the full spectrum of TB services for their own communities, in villages or slums, on mountains or islands, in hard-to -reach remote areas miles away from civilisation.

Crossing the 100,000 mark!

We are grateful to you for your unswerving support in the past decade. It’s because of you that in 2018 we have crossed the 100,000 mark, having detected and treated more than 100,000 TB patients, giving them health and dignity and subsequent economic benefits. TB treatment is a poverty alleviation programme. According to the government of India each treated patient gets an annuity of $13,395. Thus we have provided a total benefit of more than $1.39 billion to treated patients, and the country's economy has saved an equivalent amount in indirect costs.

In Cambodia, serving with compassion:                     

Long time ago we realised that TB detection and treatment is an urgent need everywhere. In 2010 we started work in Cambodia. Today we are serving 17% of the population and treating 17% of all TB patients there. Our health workers go on boats from island to island in the Mekong Delta to carry out TB awareness and education, sputum collection and transport, and giving daily supervised medication for 6 to 9 months.

In Afghanistan, where people matter:

Three years back we started working Afghanistan where we received tremendous support from the National TB Control Program and ACREOD, a local NGO. We provided the training and the technology. Local Afghani people are given jobs as community health workers. I’m proud to say that within 2 years we exceeded our targets in Afghanistan and are now embarking on a much bigger project.

Projects in Tanzania:

Our project in Tanzania has had unprecedented results. Here our collaboration is with APOPO, an Ashoka Fellow, as well as Mkuta, a local NGO, and everything we do is embedded in the National TB Control Program of the country. This year we shall start work in Zambia, another country that is riddled with poverty and disease where the need is immense.

The world is one family. The biggest religion is humanity. These are the core principles on which we work. Thank you for being part of our lives. Thank you for your blessing and guidance that have supported us in this long and difficult journey.

 Awards and Media mentions

  • Operation ASHA was invited by DHFL to be a part of a function at Vasai Nagar Palika office. The function had other participants associated with DHFL, where all the partners were provided with some space to put their display material. Operation ASHA was glad to be a part of the function, where it got the opportunity to display its technology (software application used for tracking treatment of the patients), and comic books through which awareness is done in the disadvantaged communities. The schools kids were very keen to read our comics and raised a lot of questions on the comic book  character and the motive of Operation ASHA spreading the message on TB. The parents too were    equally enthusiastic and were committed to inform OpASHA if they come across any TB symptomatic.
  • A team consisting of two persons from a local Zambian NGO and one person from National TB Program, Zambia recently visited India to see Operation ASHA’s work in action. Their objective was to assess and implement Operation ASHA’s unique community-driven, low-cost model, supported with technology in Zambia. We organized a field visit for them. The members of the team were impressed with Operation ASHA’s technology and model. The NTP Officer Ms Clara Kasapo commented "the way Operation ASHA's community health workers approach and speak to patients and family members, it is obvious that they have developed close personal rapport. The workers have exhaustive knowledge about TB and have educated the families and patients very well.”
  • Researchers from McGill University, McGill International TB Center, World Bank, Harvard Business School and International Food Policy Research Institute published an enlightening research article, based on interviews with 86 community health workers and 3,424 TB patients of Operation ASHA, spread over 9 cities and 4 states. Nearly 6,000 interviews were conducted. 
  • The research proves that social proximity, brought about by the community-driven approach of Operation ASHA, is consistently associated with higher knowledge and greater adoption of prevention behavior by patients and communities.
  • On the occasion of World TB Day, Operation ASHA organized TB awareness campaign at about 100 different locations where Operation ASHA work. The people were educated by our staff about the symptoms and treatment of TB. All activities were planned and executed in collaboration with the Government TB staff and other NGOs/ leaders.Dr Shelly Batra, our President, was invited as a speaker to the prestigious HITLAB Innovators Summit at IIT Delhi on Feb 16. Dr Batra contributed to a discussion on "Empowering meaningful digital health innovation for India’s 1.3+ billion lives" over an exciting day of digital health and health-tech disruption.
  • PGI, Chandigarh, the premier medical institution in India, invited our CTO, Ms. Sonali Batra, to deliver a session on eHealth model of Operation ASHA. The Press Release issued by PGI lauded her contribution with the following comment in their press release "Sonali Batra, CTO & Director Development at Operation ASHA discussed on the Innovative model for TB Detection & Treatment, & Prevention of Drug Resistance. OPASHA team visit TB patients in home and community setting and use technology to register consumption of drugs so that compliance can be ensured and drug resistance can be avoided (e-compliance).Till date OPASHA has 86.9% treatment success rate and in total 93899 patients have been treated fully. There is provision of e-detection for active case finding."…/78835-experts-discussed-onlin…  

 Case study of a patient

In search of a better life and good income generating options, Kalavati Patel migrated from Mehardevi, a small town in Satna district in Madhya Pradesh to Mumbai. She along with her family (husband and two children) got settled in Voidapada, Vasai- E (Mumbai), a slum. It has been 3 years now since Kalavati migrated from her native town. She started working as a household help in the nearby areas and her husband got a job at a motor repairing garage.

The family was passing their days peacefully with whatever they could be able to afford with their income. Gradually, in February this year, Kalavati began suffering from regular evening fever which soon followed by coughing. Day by day, this increased. Kalavati was so focused on her work and income generation, she could not even pay much attention to her health. She completely ignored the symptoms.

One day when our provider, Tankit, was on household visits in Kalavati’s area, her neighbor, out of suspicion of some serious illness, informed the Provider that Kalavati was coughing badly for the past many days. Tankit visited Kalavati’s house and spoke to her in detail. He also had a conversation with her husband and explained the immediate need of TB detection test of his wife. Tankit collected her sputum and transported to the hospital. The Provider was equally eager to know the test result as Kalavati’s family was.

The very next day, the result of the sputum test was declared as positive. Kalavati was suffering with TB. She was immediately enrolled on our TB treatment system.

Her treatment started. Her body had become so weak that she started facing side effects of the drugs and found it so difficult that she decided to leave the treatment incomplete. The provider put his efforts in counseling her but it could not change her decision. As an attempt, the Provider requested Kalavati to attend an Expert Counseling session which is provided by our Expert Counselor based at Delhi headquarters. Luckily, Kalavati agreed to this. She and her husband had a 40-minute long expert counseling session with the Expert Counselor. This session brought positive result and Kalavati was finally convinced to continue with her treatment. Now, she is on medication. Her health has a great improvement.

Donations raised

During the quarter (February to April), Operation ASHA could be able to raise $296. These donations will help the treatment of disadvantaged TB patients in India Cambodia.   

Operation ASHA expresses gratitude to its donors and supporters for joining the mission of TB eradication. We look forward to your continued support. 

Thank you 

Shelly Batra


Operation ASHA

Donate now   
You can follow OpASHA's CEO Mr. Sandeep Ahuja (@sandeepahuja12) and President Dr. Shelly Batra (@shells1857) on Twitter. You can also follow OpASHA on Facebook and Twitter.

Zambian team on a field visit
Zambian team on a field visit
DHFL event in Vasai
DHFL event in Vasai
Awareness campaign
Awareness campaign
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Organization Information

Operation ASHA

Location: New Delhi, Delhi - India
Operation ASHA
Sandeep Ahuja
Project Leader:
Sandeep Ahuja
New Delhi, Delhi India

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