India has been battling the ancient scourge of Tuberculosis (TB) for a long, long time. Two persons die due to TB in India every three minutes. Seen as a taboo, the absence of open conversation and even denial have led to high mortality rates. The Indian government declared TB a notifiable disease in 2012 - a move supported by the not-for-profit Indian Medical Association (IMA). Under this, the entire medical eco-system - comprising doctors and pharmacists - was mandated to immediately update the details of any and every new TB patient. However, this was easier said than done as private hospitals and physicians - due to general apathy and ignorance - rarely reported TB cases. According to IMA statistics, over 90% of TB cases go unreported in the private sector.
In October 2018, the IMA - acting under the aegis of the Union Health Ministry - asked its PR consultancy to reach out to the private sector medical eco-system and stress on the importance of notifying the government about all new TB patients - so that concerted steps could be taken to eradicate the deadly virus. In parallel, the PR firm was also mandated to generate awareness among the general public that TB was a life-threatening disease. We were asked to highlight the fact that the disease was treatable and patients were completely cured if they received timely medical intervention.