Big B was once Big TB too

On world tuberculosis day, Big B tells how he triumphed over TB

Story of A big business scion who was banished faraway when contracted TB.

Big B was once Big TB too

New Delhi, March 24:  A member of India’s erstwhile biggest business family was inflicted by TB long ago when there was hardly a treatment. He was ‘banished’ from the family and sent to Gandhi Ji’s Ashram in Maharashtra for fear of infection.

So, if Amitabh Bachhan also once caught TB, the revelation is no surprise at all. TB bacteria prowl around and anyone however big or mighty can fall victim. Fortunately for Big B, there was effective treatment when he caught it. Else who knows, Big too might have been through the same trauma of being left alone.

Fortunately, the scion of business house was cured in Gandhi ji Ashram through traditional method of treatment and due to climate therein but no family member visited him till then.  He later on became the owner of the biggest Indian English news paper, which is being run by his daughter today.  His brother in a book repented the fact that he and the family left him fight TB alone. He contracted TB when young and lived till not long ago and died when he was quite old. So there is no doubt it a curable disease.

Amitabh Bachchan got infected by TB in 2000, when he was through the shooting of Kaun Banega Crorepati.  On the occasion of World Tuberculosis day (March 24), Amitabh Bachchan in his edit page article in an English news paper has recounted how he triumphed over the debilitating disease.

In his article, he has expressed his wish to be associated with the TB eradication campaign as he was with polio eradication.  In his article, he says, ‘I pray that our dream of TB Harega, Desh Jeetega (TB will get defeated and the country will win) becomes a reality very soon.’

Big B in his article says, ‘I too had endured the challenges of facing the disease and the discipline and difficulty of the stringent adherence that the treatment regimen requires.’

He further writes – ‘The treatment did not stop my work and i continued shooting for this show. Modern TB medication has developed to an extent that allows us to continue with our daily routine with minimal hindrance. During my treatment, i understood the importance of adhering to the prescribed course of medication in order to be cured successfully.’

Big B writes- ‘There were time when TB-infected patients were ostracized because of the unavailability of drugs and therefore the assumption that they could not be cured. Today, modern diagnostic tools and advanced treatment regimens can diagnose and cure patients completely.’

He warns- ‘Non-compliance, for various reasons, has led to the development of drug-resistant strains that are difficult to cure as they demand longer and more expensive regimes. Rise of drug-resistant forms is a major cause for concern. Latest data from RNTCP shows that there are 64,000 drug-resistant cases in our country. Treating drug-resistant TB costs at least Rs 1,00,000 and this treatment continues for two years in comparison to Rs 500 for treating the drug susceptible form of this disease. This needs to be addressed as the increase in the number of drug-resistant TB patients is a dangerous trend for our population and a huge financial strain on the public exchequer.’

TB is a preventable and curable disease and we must spare no effort to take our country towards the target of zero TB deaths. The need to create awareness is paramount as timely diagnosis can only arise when the public is aware of the symptoms. Mobilizing the whole community to work together to create awareness about the disease’s prevention and treatment will go a long way in reducing its burden.

Dhananjay Kumar

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