They made unlikely messengers, but these children, dressed smartly in crisp Scouts and Guides uniforms, made their mark at the Chennai Central Railway Station on Sunday morning, taking the message of TB awareness to the masses.
The Indian development Foundation (IDF), along with specialists from Gremaltes Hospital organised an awareness exhibiition on World Tuberculosis day, to educate passengers passing through Central station about the symptoms and treatment of the dreaded bacterial infection.
“If you have chest pain and perpetual cough for 2 weeks or more, along with loss of appetite and weight, you should go get tested. You may also see blood in sputum and fever in the evenings,” a young volunteer-guide from Kendriya Vidyalaya-2, Tambaram was overheard explaining to a family waiting at the station.
“You can treat people with TB normally; you can hug them, talk to them and give them moral support. TB is completely curable if diagnosed in time, but it is important that you complete the entire 7 month course of antibiotics,” explained the student, highlighting the threat of multi drug resistant TB, caused mainly due to discontinuation of antibiotic course.
While 10,000 people received an awareness pamphlet, at least 20 per cent of them dropped in to read the charts on display in the main waiting hall of the station. “The treatment of TB is completely free of cost, medicines are provided by the Chennai corporation,” said Pius Kalathil, direcctor of Gremaltes hospital, which works with TB patients.