Saksham, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

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"Saksham" in the times of COVID-19

In co-ordination with the Central TB Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Saksham, Tata Institute of Social Sciences is providing counselling services to DR-TB patients and their Care Givers in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Rajasthan and has reached out to more than 60,000 Drug Resistant (DR) TB patients and their caregivers until now. 


The principle behind Saksham’s intervention is Sustainable Systems Strengthening and 214 Saksham Counsellors are integrated within the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) and are placed in each of the District TB Centres in the 4 implementation states.


Saksham is committed to support the NTEP and hence the implementation is active with more rigour during the COVID -19 crisis. The Saksham Counsellors have tirelessly continued to support the DR-TB patients since the outbreak. Most of the counsellors have been given special identity cards by the NTEP and they are providing enhanced counselling to the DR TB patients to deal with their fears and anxiety about COVID-19, take necessary precautions against the virus and supporting the patients in treatment adherence.

During the COVID-19 lockdown period, between 16 March-30 June 2020,67,471 follow up counselling sessions were provided by the counsellors of which, 7230 were home based, 7309 were in the health centre, 234 were in the work place and 52698 were telephonic counselling sessions.

Between 16 March-30 June 2020, many patients had migrated to their howmtowns without taking adequate medicines, Saksham counsellors had received information about 878 DR TB patients who had migrated. 672 patients had migrated within the 4 Saksham implementation states and 206 went outside of Saksham states. 844 (96%) of the migrated patients were traced by the Saksham counsellor and each patient was guided and assisted for successful treatment initiation at patients nearest health centre in the respective destination. 4% of the patients who could not be traced were those with whom any subsequent contact could not be established.

Linking patients to Nutrition and Social Protection Services during the COVID 19 Pandemic

TB is a disease of poverty and economic issues can hinder treatment adherence. In order to reduce the catastrophic burden of TB and increase treatment adherence, one of the major thrust of the Saksham Counsellors is linking patients to the Nutrition services and available GoI Social Protection Scheme.

The Saksham Counsellors have been extra vigilant during the COVID 19 crisis and ensured that nutrition kits (monthly staples) are provided to the most vulnerable and in need patient households. The counsellors not only procured but also packed and delivered the nutrition to the households on their own.

Between March 16 - June 30, 2020, Saksham Counsellors provided nutrition kits to 2132 TB patients and their families amounting to Rs. 20,48,127.00/-  The funding for nutrition support was raised through private donors and NGO’s by the Counsellors.

Saksham Counsellors also linked 522 DR TB patients to Social Protection Schemes ranging from Old Age pension, Women and Child Welfare schemes, Schemes for the Differently abled, Health Aid schemes and COVID-19 relief funds.