TB Kills In Punjab’s Dirty Slum

A tuberculosis epidemic is spreading in Durga colony, Ludhiana, while health care remains scarce. Jai Kumar is running a school in Durga colony, where this video takes place. He came to know about the pervading tuberculosis epidemic in the area because one of his students, as well as four of his students’ mothers suffer from it. There are around 100,000 people living in Durga colony, lacking basic hygiene facilities. The area is mostly populated by migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Most of them are very impoverished families who decided to migrate in search of work, and found jobs in Ludhiana’s industrial sector. Their jobs often expose them to toxic material, but living in Durga is more harmful to them. Indeed, a tuberculosis epidemic has been plaguing the area for around one year. Jai Kumar has heard about 30 to 40 reported cases, but these figures certainly cover only a small part of the actual number of affected people. The epidemic also caused the death of Buddhu. Jai Kumar came to know about his death 20 days after he got his interview, through a local shopkeeper. "He told me that Buddhu had died, and then blamed me for making pointless videos...pointless because they could not save the boy's life," said Jai Kumar. The epidemic is very serious in Durga colony because health facilities are scarce. There is one dispensary there, but it is neglected and visited only occasionally by nurses and doctors. People are often doomed to go to unqualified doctors. Besides, because people are mostly uneducated, they are often not aware that their illness is serious, and thus do not get the adequate treatment. While making this video, Jai Kumar spoke to the local municipal counsellor, Dharamjeet singh Garcha. The latter declared that, although treating epidemics was not his priority, he would try to make some changes. But he has now sent 103 applications to the Ludhiana commissioner Nagar Nigam, and has received no answer. To watch Jai Kumar's personal profile video, click here

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