Project Axshya builds a new dimension to TB control in India – community ‘ownership’ through civil society led public health programming. Through its innovative interventions focusing on Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation, Project Axshya is strengthening the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) to achieve its objective of Universal Access to TB services.
India bears the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) globally. Project Axshya was strategised around advocacy, communication and social mobilisation to consolidate the achievements of India’s national tuberculosis control programme and to take them further to all the vulnerable areas of the country.
By the last quarter of 2010, Project Axshya had been launched in all project states by the respective partners, project management and monitoring systems had been set in place, initial trainings to orient partners and key stakeholders had been completed and all major activities had been initiated with enthusiasm and dynamism.
The Key Project Activities included the following.
• Empower communities to enhance their participation in TB services.
• Conduct need-based and gender-sensitive media campaigns.
• Advocate with policy-makers and parliamentarians.
• Facilitate involvement of all health care providers to increase the reach of TB services and ensure rational use of diagnostics and drugs.
• Synergise civil society’s TB care and control services through partnerships.
• Conduct research, training on ACSM (Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation), Public-Private Mix, MDR-TB (Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis), TB epidemiology, Programme Management and Operations Research.
• Support and Complement RNTCP diagnostic and treatment services to increase access, especially in difficult and hard-to-reach areas.
• Strengthen the state and district level ACSM capacity of programme personnel.
• Strengthen the linkages between TB and HIV services.
• Empower affected and vulnerable communities by facilitating platforms for TB care.
Other than local, national and international stakeholders that the UNION is working with, its nine core sub-recipient partners in Project Axshya are reputed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with extensive expertise and experience in TB services, and widespread networks and trust in the communities they work with. Partners include the Catholic Bishops Conference of India – Coalition for AIDS and Related Diseases (CBCI-CARD), Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI), Christian Medical Association of India (CMAI), Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA), MAMTA Health Institute for Mother and Child (MAMTA), Mamta Samajik Sanstha (MSS), Population Services International (PSI), Resource Group for Education and Advocacy for Community Health (REACH), and Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI).
The name Axshya suggests ‘TB free’. This project had aimed to improve access to quality TB care and control through a partnership between government and civil societies and had certainly helped in reaching difficult-to-reach and high-risk populations with greater partnership of stakeholders during this first year and this has proved an effective way forward for universal access and to prevent the emergence of drug-resistant TB. Universal accessibility of DOTS had been possible only through the approach of Axshya.
The Patients’ Charter for Tuberculosis Care outlines the duties and responsibilities of people with Tuberculosis. It empowers people with the disease and their communities through this knowledge. It is endorsed by the WHO, Stop TB Partnership, National Governments and Civil Service Organisations. The responsibilities are, sharing information, following treatment, showing solidarity, a sense of confidence and security to name a few.
Infectious disease like TB spread from person to person, and eventually there are millions of people who are sick. But Axshya had reversed the process. Spreading information on TB, telling people that it is curable, and empowering them to access services. In this way Axshya had reached millions of people and had saved their lives and is moving further to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDS).
New Concept designed the logo for the Axshya Project and also designed, and printed the Activity Report. New Concept had done the design and printout of the Patient Charter for which the messages were translated into Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi, Assamese, Manipuri, Kashmiri, Mizo, Naga, Khasi, Garo, and Urdu.
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