Megastar Amitabh Bachchan today said that though India is a country with various beliefs, religion should not be a hurdle in health and medication.
The 73-year-old actor, who is the brand ambassador of India in the fight against tuberculosis (TB), said during the polio eradication campaign he found that there were few communities who stayed from the medication in name of their belief.
“The huge problem which we face during health campaigns is, how one should reach out to the people? India is a diverse country with various beliefs which keep people away from taking a specific kind of medication.
“We had problems with polio. There were several communities, who thought taking polio drops was something against their caste or religion. Health and medication should not be linked to religion,” said Bachchan while launching the campaign “Call to Action: A TB Free Haryana.
The “Piku” star also opened up about why eradicating TB was close to his heart.
“… I was diagnosed with TB in 2000 and I felt that I need to talk about it because I have a personal interest in the cause. It makes a point to share the issue with others and encourage them to perhaps fight with the problem face to face,” he said.
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The actor along with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was present at the launch of two mobile vans to support in the campaign and he took the occasion as a platform to break myths attached with the disease.
“Normally TB is associated with people, who live in poor conditions, … but what I want to convey is that irrespective of the environment you live in there is a possibility that you can attach TB to your body,” he said.
“I also want to say, even though I got infected by tuberculosis I was able to cure it by medication. If I am standing in front of you today I can say confidently I am absolutely free of TB,” he added.
Bachchan, who has been appointed as the ambassador for girl child by UN, also expressed his desire to work for Haryana’s “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign.
“There are many things that all of us do with a heart. Most of us are involved in several campaigns and activities which are done voluntarily, but have a far reaching effort.
“United Nations and UNICEF have appointed me as the ambassador for girl child and if Chief Minister of Haryana Mr Khattar wants any support from me in ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign I will willingly do it,” he said.
Bachchan said the success of the polio campaign inspired him to take up the cause of TB eradication.
“The inspiration behind getting attached to this cause was the polio eradication campaign which I was a part of. And almost eight years later, I am proud to say today we are free of polio. One day I wish to see our country free from TB as well.”
The initiative, undertaken by Medanta – The Medicity hospital, has been launched in collaboration with the government of Haryana, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and the Central TB Division of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.