40 TB Survivors of Odisha attend capacity-building workshop in Bhubaneswar

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Bhubaneswar: Forty TB Survivors from 25 districts of Odisha attended a four-day capacity-building workshop – From TB Survivors to TB Champions – in Bhubaneswar from February 5 to 8, 2019. The workshop was organised by REACH, an NGO, in partnership with the Odisha State TB Cell and with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This is the second such workshop organised by REACH in Odisha.
Speaking at the valedictory session of the workshop, State TB Officer, Odisha, Dr. P.K. Hota, said, “You are the Champions who have defeated the disease, so you have to lead the way for others now.” Dr Hota highlighted how TB Champions can play a crucial role in sensitising people on TB symptoms, treatment, cough hygiene, etc. He also urged them to involve more TB survivors in the Kalinga TB Survivors network.
The objective of the capacity-building workshop was to support the TB survivors to become effective TB Champions so that they can spearhead advocacy, outreach and patient support activities at the community level. Over the last four days, the TB Champions were oriented on the basics of TB care and treatment, the structure of Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), key TB issues in Odisha and effective tools for advocacy, communications and network building.
“When I was a TB patient, my understanding of the disease was uneven. Trainings and sensitization with the help of REACH have helped me gain more knowledge and skills to change the mindset of people. Now, I visit patients in my area, give them psychosocial support and try to ensure that they do not suffer like I did,” Bibek Ranjan Padhi from Jajpur, who had also attended the first capacity building workshop in December 2017, said.
B. Chinmayee, a TB Champion from Haradakhandi Square, Berhampur, who had to stop dancing as a result of TB, said the workshop was a fruitful learning opportunity. “Now I will meet people and tell them my story of defeating TB. I will try to minimize the gap between the TB patients/survivors and others. My morale has been boosted and I also want to get back to my Odishi and Bharatnatyam practise soon,” she said.
Anupama Srinivasan, Deputy Project Director, REACH, said, “The TB Champions of Odisha have demonstrated the important role survivors can play in both sensitising the community about TB as well as supporting others affected by TB. We are confident that the Champions trained at this workshop will follow in their footsteps and strengthen the community response to TB in Odisha.”

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