In death, Mumbai doctor spreads TB awareness

MARD 7-day programme will have blood donation drive, street plays and debates.

The disease has killed as many as 42 employees at the TB hospital in Sewri since 2005.

The disease has killed as many as 42 employees at the TB hospital in Sewri since 2005.

After a 24-year-old intern doctor from Sion hospital succumbed to tuberculosis early this week, the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has pledged to spread awareness on the disease among the public.

On Friday, MARD collaborated with Observer Research Foundation (ORF), health activists and medical professionals and will start a week-long extensive TB awareness programme from July 8 to July 14 across Mumbai.

Dr Santosh Wakchaure, president of MARD, said, “TB is an air-borne disease and can be prevented with simple measures. In Dr Samidha Khandare’s case, I think three things were responsible — lack of hygiene in campus accommodation, no nutritious food and long working hours. Our week-long programme will also deal with waking up the authorities with respect to a health policy for us.”

The week-long programme is dedicated to Khandare and will start with a blood donation drive at BYL Nair Hospital on July 8 and culminate with a solidarity walk from JJ hospital to Marine Drive.

“We will have street plays, panel discussions in colleges, mobilisation of information through Facebook/Twitter and television debates. We will also wear black masks on one of the days to spread awareness among patients,” said Wakchaure.

Every year, according to statistics available, 7,000 people die of TB in Mumbai alone. The disease has killed as many as 42 employees at TB hospital in Sewri since 2005. Presently, 19 doctors are suffering from TB in city civic hospitals, out of which 15 are from Sion hospital.

Dr Deepesh Reddy Vendoti, ORF, said, “TB deaths are significant but due to lack of awareness people don’t talk about it. We need to act soon; if drug-resistant TB spreads in Mumbai, it will be difficult to deal with it.”

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