Saurabh Dinesh Rane
TB Activist, Survivors Against TB

TB patients are often viewed as “ill” and “weak” human beings, whom audiences don't see as human but only as a “TB patient”...Prior to my race, climb and bike ride, there was very limited conversation about TB, outside the TB community. These actions broke the stigma around TB like never before and provided patients with a completely new perspective.

Saurabh Dinesh Rane is an extremely drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) survivor and activist who helps TB patients fight for their rights in India and worldwide. When Saurabh was diagnosed with XDR-TB and started what would become a 3-year treatment journey, he felt little hope. Frustrated by the perception that TB patients were “weak” and the lack of conversation or awareness about the disease outside the TB community, he decided to go public with his diagnosis and run a 10km race.

Defying all odds, he successfully competed during the height of his treatment and finished the race within 57 minutes. It sent a wave of disbelief among his peers and family, but for Saurabh and other patients, it marked the start of a new hope for life after TB. After the race, Saurabh continued to e use non-traditional methods to inspire others and advocate for the TB community, such as climbing a 6,100m mountain and completing a 140km bike ride. In India, he is a patient advocate with the group Survivors against TB (SATB) but he has also helped lead global advocacy efforts by collaborating with the Stop TB Partnership and the World Health Organization. He also leverages social media outlets, such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to advocate, and counsel patients and raise awareness.

Through his unconventional advocacy methods and sharing his story with others, Saurabh has helped reduce the stigma surrounding TB patients, particularly XDR-TB patients, and shifted the approach of counselling from helping patients survive, to helping them thrive. His actions not only support the community, but also pressure a range of stakeholders to commit to TB elimination. At the mere age of 27, Saurabh has inspired TB patients, young and old, around the world.