Tuberculosis or TB is India’s severest health crisis. It kills almost a 1,400 Indians every day and one Indian every minute. However, its impact on and risks to women's and children’s health is often neglected. TB kills more women in India than all causes of maternal mortality combined. Yet, we rarely view this crisis as a gendered one.

We have been advocating to make the program and service delivery more gender sensitive. We have documented stories of female survivors of TB to illustrate how TB affects women more severely. These stories chronicle the journey of these brave women in a deeply patriarchal society, where they face stigma sometimes coupled with poor socio-economic status, and lack of awareness that leads to significant delays in the diagnosis and treatment of TB. Yet they persist in their fight against TB.

What do these stories tell us? That women have to fight TB harder even though families, communities and often the health system abandon them.

The purpose of our work is to mobilize political commitment and resources to assure gender-equitable access, including women and child -friendly services through advocacy. We have already documented and sent a selection of these stories in English and Hindi to all Members of Parliament.


We have recommended creating synergies across the health system and making health programmes, sensitive to the constraints faced by women and children in accessing care, or to completing treatment.