The menace of Tuberculosis afflicting Tibetan refugees and the distress it causes are well known facts from the early days of our exile history. After the brutal invasion of Tibet by the Chinese communist regime in 1959, exiled Tibetans in India faced tremendous hardships adapting to a new life in a foreign land, acclimatizing and building refugee camps while being afflicted by many new diseases including Tuberculosis and its subsequent drug resistance.
Decades later, Tibetans have failed to eliminate this communicable disease in the exiled diaspora, notwithstanding the help from Indian government and other governmental and several international aid organisations.
In the early 1980s, despite the resource and technical constraints, Delek Hospital spearheaded a Tuberculosis Control Program initiative to save exile Tibetan from this plague.
It all started with a small TB clinic, which has now evolved into a full-fledged separate unit of Delek hospital consisting of TB clinic, TB isolation ward and dedicated staff managing the expanding program. Beside following standard treatment guidelines, the TB Control program is actively involved in carrying out awareness campaign, health workers training, active case finding, diagnosis, contact tracing, medical recording system, data collection and research.
Delek hospital plays a defining role in combating TB throughout the Tibetan community in exile.
The reputation and strength of the program led to the exiled Central Tibetan Administration’s Health Department to seek guidance for running their TB program. Therefore the program served as a role model and expert consultancy and referral center for the entire Tibetan population in exile.
The decision of the Stop TB Partnership, an international body housed in WHO to award the 2012 Kochon prize for Delek’s TB program was a global recognition for the unwavering dedication of all the individuals and associations involved in this crucial program from its inception. It is also an encouragement for those who are currently involved and an inspiration for many yet to join our battle against Tuberculosis as the disease continues to pose serious threats to public health in exile.
To its credit several research publications in reputed international journals have been published, adding to Delek’s prominence in the field of TB research.