New Delhi: Ahead of World TB Day on March 24, the REACH Media Awards for 2017-18 were presented here on Thursday to honour outstanding and responsible reporting on tuberculosis.
In an event, co-hosted by REACH, USAID and Lilly Global Health in partnership with the Lancet Commission on Tuberculosis, exceptional journalism in reporting about the disease was acknowledged. Highlighting that good journalism can go a long way in the battle against TB, Arun Kumar Kha, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said the good work needs to continue. "In India, where health-seeking behaviour is low, we need to encourage people to seek health care services through responsible journalism. We need to involve local newspapers more in these efforts," he said, lauding REACH's efforts as well.
Agreed Dr Sunil Khaparde, Deputy Director General, Central TB Division. ""We need to have a holistic approach that includes private sector engagement and a multi-sectoral approach. We are just focussing on the controlling agent but we now need to focus on the environment from which the disease perpetuates," he said.
Also speaking on the occasion, Mr Mark White, Mission Director, USAID/India, congratulated the journalists even as he urged TB survivors to keep being the change agents. "It would be a lost opportunity to overlook the integral role survivors play in achieving shared goals. When they share their powerful stories about challenges and when journalists report them, it can help identify and address programme gaps," he said.
In the English category for Best Reporting on TB, the winners were Sakshi Kuchroo and Geetanjali Minhas for their long-form story, 'How Caregivers are falling prey to TB', published in Governance Now, and Shreya Shah of IndiaSpend for her story titled 'New Model of Tracking TB Patients Holds Promise for India'. Nandita Venkatesan of The Times of India received a special citation for her story, 'I lost my hearing to TB drugs, time we declare war on the disease'.
In the Local Language category, the winners were Anand Tiwari for his story 'Government's project to monitor TB marred by the disease, patients marginalized', published in Prabhat Khabar, and Rakesh Malviya for his story 'Said in the budget ... but is it easy to beat TB?' published on NDTV.com.
In the English category for Consistent Reporting on TB, the winner was Tabassum Barnagarwala who highlighted a range of TB-related issues through her work published in The Indian Express between 2012 and 2017. In the Local Language category, the winner was Mr. Reji Joseph, who focused on how TB affects the lives of migrant workers, among other issues in stories published in Rashtra Deepika Daily and deepikaglobal.com.
A new publication, 'Keeping TB in the News: A toolkit for health advocates', documenting REACH's work with the media over eight years, was also released on the occasion.