Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has accepted a request by Mumbai's civic body to be the face of its tuberculosis (TB) control programme, saying he would be glad to contribute to the efforts to tackle the disease.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) TB programme, covering a variety of aspects from early detection to intensive treatment, hasn't seen the kind of results that were hoped for, largely due to a paucity of resources. So, the civic authority believes that the superstar could help to inject life into the campaign.
"I am very honoured as well as humbled by your request to be the brand ambassador for the BMC's mission. Thank you very much," the film star wrote in a letter to the mayor on March 5, 2014.
The actor said in his letter that he felt there were a lot of misconceptions about TB, with many feeling it was a dreaded disease. "Sadly, this is not the case," he stated.
Bachchan hoped he would receive guidance on how he could play an effective role as brand ambassador of the TB control programme.
Mayor Sunil Prabhu, who had requested Bachchan to be brand ambassador of the "Mumbai Mission for TB Control", was not available for comment.
Civic officials expressed their happiness on hearing about Bachchan's involvement, saying this would encourage the staff at its hospitals to serve patients better.
"People find it very risky to work at TB hospitals, given the high risk of contracting the disease. So, if someone of Mr Bachchan's stature gets involved, it will boost the morale of the employees," said an official.
"His pan-India image would help to also allay misconceptions pertaining to TB, not just in BMC-administered areas, but elsewhere too," he said.
According to the BMC, about 550 people have been diagnosed with multi-drug resistant TB (MDR TB) since January this year.
Bachchan is already associated with the BMC's solid waste management scheme, called the Swachcha Mumbai Prabodhan Abhiyan, that was launched on the birth anniversary of late Bal Thackeray. The actor enjoyed a cordial relationship with the Shiv Sena founder.