On any given, tuberculosis claims over 1,000 lives in India. Now, with the government and health care system’s energies focussed on controlling the spread of Covid-19, access to healthcare facilities for other infectious diseases, especially tuberculosis, has reduced significantly. How has the lockdown impacted TB patients and how are they coping? And as the government continues its fight against Covid-19, what must the government do to ensure we do not slide back on the progress made with TB care over the decades?

In this two-part episode, co-hosts Yamini Aiyar, President and Chief Executive of Centre for Policy Research, and Dr Jishnu Das, Professor at Georgetown University and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Delhi-based think tank, speak with Dr Madhukar Pai, Professor and Director of McGill Global Health Programs and International TB Centre; Nandita Venkatesan, a journalist, TB survivor and TB disability advocate; and Dr Sarthak Rastogi, consultant pulmonologist at the Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai.

In part one, Pai, Venkatesan, and Rastogi lay out the context of tuberculosis in India and share first-hand accounts of the disruption in diagnosis and care as a result of the lockdown. They point out that new diagnoses have come to a complete halt and patients on treatment regimens are facing extreme difficulty in accessing their medication. This could have devastating consequences for India’s fight against TB.

This is part one of episode seven in a series by the Centre for Policy Research on the unfolding coronavirus pandemic in India. You can follow the Centre’s work on Covid-19 on Twitter or visit www.cprindia.org. You can listen to all the episodes in the Coronavirus Conversation series here.