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.
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. https://bit.ly/34YybOe
- 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. https://www.hippocraticpost.com/…/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.
https://bit.ly/2YNXscm , http://simplysuparnaa.com/sabera-2019-winners
- 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:
- 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. https://bit.ly/2RUibcH