Mumbai: We’re happy to announce that IndiaSpend contributor Varsha Singh won the 2023 Reach Media Award for Excellence in Reporting on TB.

The story, published in Hindi and English, highlighted how government support is critical to treat tuberculosis in malnourished patients. Singh tells the story of 15-year-old Ramesh who has TB, but his family--surviving on his mother’s income from selling vegetables--is unable to buy fruits and eggs for him. They have taken a loan to be able to feed daily meals.

Malnutrition and TB are linked, with malnourishment making one more likely to contract TB, and malnourished TB patients find it harder to recover. In April 2018, under the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme, the government launched the Nikshay Poshan Yojana under which patients are given Rs 500 every month for six months so that they can have nutritious meals.

This money for meals could help patients, but Singh’s reporting from Uttarakhand found that the money isn’t reaching everyone. Records for bank accounts for all patients are registered, and not all those who have provided account details received the monetary benefit.

In the past, IndiaSpend writer Shreya Khaitan won the award twice. In 2018, Khaitan won the REACH Lilly MDR-TB Partnership Media Award for Best Reporting on TB - English for her story on how TB care could be improved with a new model to track patients. In 2022, Khaitan won the Reach Media Award for Reporting on TB for her story on the dual burden of TB and Covid-19 cases.

In 2019, IndiaSpend contributor Menaka Rao won the Reach Media Award in October 2019 for her four-part series for IndiaSpend on Kerala’s fight against tuberculosis and what it can teach India.