With the tea garden areas of Assam identified as among the most vulnerable zones for TB cases, Tata Tea along with an NGO REACH (Resource Group for Education and Advocacy on Community Health) has come forward to develop its tea estates in the State as TB-free zones.
Arupjyoti Kalita of the NGO stated that the tea garden areas are amongst the most vulnerable zones in case of Tuberculosis and REACH has developed an Employer-Led Model (ELM) under which the employer is encouraged to help eradicate this disease.
Kalita also mentioned that Tata Tea has signed a MoU with REACH for nine tea gardens in Assam, which would be made TB-free. He was speaking in a roundtable for journalists on reporting on TB, attended by TB experts, consultants and TB survivors, among others.
Another tea estate in Nagaon district, Nonoi Tea Garden which also belongs to Tata has contacted REACH for the programme, he added.
Dr Dhruba Jyoti Deka, WHO consultant, informed that 37,000-38,000 TB cases are detected annually in the public sector hospitals in the State, with another 2,000-3,000 reported from the private sectors.
Dr NJ Das, Special Programme Officer (Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme) emphasized that Assam was working in the right earnest to be among the first states in the country to be TB-free, before the deadline of 2025.