Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the major public health problems in Bangladesh and its neighbouring countries for decades. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Bangladesh ranks seventh among the 22 highest TB-burdened countries. Government, Donor Agencies and NGOs came forward to combat the control of TB.
BRAC considered tuberculosis control work as early as 1984 and in 1994 BRAC became the first NGO in the country to sign a MOU with the government of Bangladesh to expand directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) services across the country.
BRAC also became a principle recipient (PR) of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), along with the government. The aim of the programme is to reduce the morbidity, mortality and transmission of TB to eliminate its presence as a public health problem.
According to The Bangladesh Today, ‘In 2014 one lakh 91 thousand and 155 patients have been diagnosed with tuberculosis under the National TB Control Programme in the country. In 2013 the success rate of TB treatment was 94 per cent in Bangladesh.’
In 2014, a number of 43 organisations showed solidarity, 792 news on newspapers and 83 articles on TB has been observed. The role of media is undoubtedly imperative to create awareness about tuberculosis in mass people. In Bangladesh media is definitely leaving remarkable contribution to promote understanding of TB side by side of Government of Bangladesh, NGOs and other stakeholders.
On 24 March 2015, three national media houses and 23 journalists from national and local newspapers have been honoured with BRAC Media Award 2015 for their special reports on tuberculosis issues. The prime news contributors received the award from the honourable minister of the ministry of health and family welfare on World TB Day at BRAC Centre Auditorium. The event was chaired By Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, vice-chairperson and interim executive director of BRAC and chief guests was Mr. Mohammad Nasim, MP, Honourable Minister of Health and Family Welfare; special guests were, Dr. Md. Ahmed Hussain Khan, Director, MBDC & TB-Leprosy; NTP, Dr. Navaratnasamy Paranietharan, Country Representative, WHO and Prof. Dr. Deen Muhammad Nurul Haque, Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The BRAC Media Award has been organised for the 5th time since 2008. This year a three-member jury gave its judgment after a scrutiny of the reports submitted. Senior journalist Md Farid Hossain, former bureau chief of AP, chaired the jury with Shahnaz Munni, news editor, ATN Bangla, and Dr Asif Muztaba Mahmud, associate professor, respiratory medicine, IEDCR as the other members. Dr Mahmud acted as the technical expert for the jury.
The awards were given based on three main categories: print, electronic and online media reporting. The print media reports which are most in number were again divided into eight categories of seven divisions and national level in Bangladesh.
The Daily Ittefaq, The Daily Observer and NTV (International Television Channel Ltd), have been awarded the prize this year in recognition of their involvement in increasing awareness about tuberculosis.
During the award giving ceremony, the awarded journalists/reporters overwhelmingly reflected on their experience of covering TB in the media. How social taboo often acts as a barrier to case identification, threat in increasing number of multiple drug resistance cases, need for more investigative reports, importance of spreading the preventive activities outside the capital city, TB is not a disease for the poor but all, and many more thoughts were shared by the present journalists and reporters.