Launch of the year-long awareness raising campaign on tuberculosis to mark the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s 100th Birth Anniversary

Dhaka, 10 March 2021— The Civil Surgeons and Divisional Directors under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) from across the country joined together in Dhaka yesterday to take part in the launch of the “Year-long TB Awareness Campaign in Bangladesh”. The campaign, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its implementing partner icddr,b under its USAID’s Alliance for Combating TB in Bangladesh, USAID’s Ujjiban and in collaboration with National TB Control Programme (NTP), will raise awareness among Bangladeshis, especially vulnerable communities, to better detect and treat TB over the next year.

Marking the 100th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the TB campaign was launched by Mr Zahid Maleque, MP, Honourable Minister, MoHFW in the presence of Aroma Dutta, MP; Health Secretaries; Director General of Health Services; USAID Office Director for Health, Population, Nutrition and Education (OPHNE) and other USAID representatives; professional associations’ leaders; Executive Director of Stop TB Partnership; WHO Representative to Bangladesh; journalists and media personalities; other government and NGO officials; and private sector representatives.

TB is an ancient infectious disease that continues to claim thousands of lives in Bangladesh. Moreover, Bangladesh is one of the highest TB burden countries in the world. Hence, it is critical for Bangladesh to shift the current trajectory by focusing beyond the epidemiological approach and taking a comprehensive consideration of other issues relevant to addressing TB.

After the opening session, there were two important discussion sessions: one for Health Managers and Public Health Professionals on Active Case Finding (ACF), TB Preventive Therapy (TPT) and Engagement of Professional Bodies; and another on the Role of Media in Ending TB in Bangladesh, engaging journalists and media personalities.

At the event, the Honourable Minister said that The Government of Bangladesh is providing free TB diagnosis and treatment. Moreover, NTP, under the DGHS of MoHFW, is committed to strengthening efforts to control and end TB in Bangladesh.

Prof. (Dr.) Md. Shamiul Islam, Director, MBDC and LD, TB-L & ASP, DGHS said that NTP has been working relentlessly to end TB in Bangladesh by 2035.

At the launch, USAID Office Director for Health, Population, Nutrition and Education, Xerses Sidhwa highlighted three approaches Bangladesh can take to achieve United Nations High Level targets for TB: increase case finding, TB and COVID bidirectional testing, and media engagement.