Stop TB Partnership

Advocacy at its Best: The Mumbai Experience

05 January 2014 - Mumbai, India - On December 21, 2014, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) launched its "TB Harega Desh Jeetega" (TB will lose and the country will win) campaign, in a landmark moment for advocacy for TB prevention and control in India.

The campaign, featuring Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, consists of videos, radio messages, posters, outdoor and print advertisements that highlight key messages about the need for increased awareness and prompt action for effective TB prevention and control. Mr. Bachchan was joined at the launch event by the newly elected Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Devendra Fadnavis, who presided over the programme. The event was also attended by Mr. Uddhav Thackeray, the chief of the Shiv Sena, a prominent regional party which is part of the ruling alliance in the state. Dignitaries on the dais included the State Health Minister, Dr. Deepak Sawant, the Director General of Health Services from the Government of India, Dr. Jagdish Prasad, the Principal Secretary of Health in Maharashtra, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Mumbai, and the MCGM's representatives, the Municipal and Additional Municipal Commissioners (MC and AMC) of Mumbai. The guest list included key partners of the Mumbai Mission for TB Control - an initiative launched in 2013 to provide universal access to TB diagnostics and treatment to all citizens of India's commercial capital. The launch was also attended by leading doctors, corporates, media, CSR partners as well as members of the National Forum on TB.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Bachchan made a moving revelation of his personal encounter with TB, which he cited as the prime factor that led him to support the campaign. One of India's most popular actors, he revealed that he had contracted the disease in 2000, and was therefore aware of the need to act promptly on its symptoms and adhere to the prescribed course of medication. Mr. Bachchan won the admiration and accolades of those present when he took his commitment to the campaign beyond being its face and voice. Responding to a call by Dr. Jagdish Prasad, for Mumbai's prominent citizens to adopt the city's slum areas for TB control initiatives, Mr. Bachchan agreed to be a part of such an initiative, and promised to seek the support of his colleagues in the film fraternity.

Mr. Uddhav Thackeray lauded the MCGM for its initiative for TB prevention and control, and affirmed the Shiv Sena's support to the Mission. He said that he would secure the participation of his party's grassroots workers towards ensuring the successful delivery of services under the Mumbai Mission for TB Control.Mr. Devendra Fadnavis reiterated the state government's support to the campaign, and resonated the Union government's commitment of a TB-free India. He expressed his gratitude to Mr. Bachchan for his commitment to the campaign. He emphasised the importance of improving hygiene and sanitation in order to curb the spread of TB in urban areas.

The launch of the campaign drew unprecedented attention from the media. Over 110 media persons attended the event, representing 77 national and regional outlets from the print, electronic and online media. The social media hashtag #TbHaregaDeshJeetega was also shared with the media to promote the campaign extensively through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The campaign encapsulates a range of messages on the steps to be undertaken for the prevention, timely diagnosis and treatment of TB. As the face and voice of the campaign, Mr. Bachchan will highlight the urgency of tackling one of the biggest public health challenges facing the country as well as address associated stigma related issues. The ultimate aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about TB and encourage better preventive and care-seeking behaviour in the community.

The "TB Harega Desh Jeetega" campaign has heralded a new phase of engagement in TB prevention and control from all sections of society. The event was instrumental in bringing together prominent citizens of the city to take the lead and commit to tackling this very critical public health challenge. From Mr. Bachchan's declaration of adopting a city slum for TB control initiatives, to the assurance from the state leadership of support at all levels, it represents the start to greater public ownership of the Mission.