Bhubaneswar, : As the world got rattled by the Covid-19, the fight against Tuberculosis (TB) and drug-resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB) received a major setback as all attention was focused on battling the pandemic.

India, incidentally, has the largest burden of TB and DR-TB in the world while Bhubaneswar city alone registers around 6000 new TB cases every year. But experts feel that unless there was community participation to generate awareness about the disease it would not be easy to tackle the problem.

A mass awareness programme on Tuberculosis through staging of street plays was unveiled at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital on Wednesday. The hospital’s department of Community Medicine provided technical support and guidance in developing the street plays while Centre for Catalysing Change (C3), a national level NGO, supported the initiative.

The street plays would be enacted by SANJOG, a Bhubaneswar-based street theatre group working for social change through theatre and folk media, in about 100 slums of Bhubaneswar adapting to the Covid-19 appropriate requirements. The first street play enacted in the hospital campus was inaugurated by the SOA Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of IMS and SUM Hospital, Prof. Gangadhar Sahoo.

Prof. Sumitra Pattnaik of the Community Medicine department provided leadership in preparation of the street play.

“Community plays a big role in mitigating andy health crisis. We have put our efforts to bring awareness among the people in the society on this important issues. The programme is intended to promote awareness on ‘basics of TB, its diagnosis, treatment, care and prevention in Bhubaneswac city with special focus on the slum areas,” Prof. E. Venkata Rao, Professor in the department said.

Mr. Bibhuti Pradhan, Programme Officer of C3, said that it was decided to adopt the street play mode because of its distinctive form of communication with a crowd-pulling ability to reach out to large populations. The IMS and SUM Hospital helped in standardizing the content and the approach for the delivery of the message. “It will definitely bring about a change in new TB identification and notification,” he said.

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