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Adieu Devi

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Seen in the picture in the center is Devi during her farewell

Fifty patients cured in one year.

Laudable earnestness which often spilled over office hours.

A titan watch gifted to you by a cured patient as a gesture of his appreciation is an indication of the care and compassion that you extended to touch lives of patients. The fact that you felt it was right to hand over the watch to the office was a sign of your sincerity towards the organization and a down to earth attitude that you wear so seamlessly.

Ever smiling and a pleasant person to stay around, memories of you will always remain with us.

May the road ahead broaden into wider horizons and your heart experience the happiness it dreams of.

REACH Blog Team

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The Toll TB Can Take

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During a cross zone visit to the Medavakkam REACH DOTS centre, an activity done to get to know the   happenings of other zones, I visited a 60 year old patient with my colleague, Mangai. A glance at the patient, and I was pushed into a state of shock. The patient who had pulmonary TB, and was sputum +ve, 3+ wore no flesh on her body. She was a bag of skin embracing a skeleton. She couldn’t even sit up. Having seen such a picture of a TB patient only on the internet, the reality of the disease hit me hard. I felt a deep sense of discomfort and alarm on the long road we have to travel to stop the disease from further destructing mankind.

Kalaivani

REACH Blog Team

Spotting a Volunteer

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Seen in the picture is Manikandan with his DOTS cap

As I rattled the TB facts to my audience during a TB awareness program at Koku Maedu village in Minjuir block, Thiruvalur District, I noticed a head nodding in constant agreement with all that I said. I also noticed the word DOTS in bold spelt on his cap. Unable to confine my curiosity I asked him where he got the cap from. Manikandan explained that he had attended a TB rally two years back. “Ever since this cap has been in my safe keeping. I have also seen how nurses administer the DOTS tablets in my village. If given a chance, I would like to be a DOTS provider to patients with TB” said an enthusiastic Manikandan.

“I now have another addition to my list of community support volunteers on whom I can lean back for support” Dinakar Sai

REACH Blog Team       

 

Bravo! You Finally Did It!!

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As pretty as her name, 22 year old Rosy has been battling Tuberculosis for the past 4 years. A sputum +ve patient initially,she completed the first line of drugs (Category I) with several interruptions. Affected again with the disease, she was put on the second line of drugs (Category II), again she comleted treatment with many interruptions.

Rosy contracted the disease from her deceased father. In love with a boy, Rosy could not pay enough attention to her treatment. Even on days when Rosy went to the DOTS centre to take her medicines, Dheena, the REACH field staff had to keep a strict eye on her, else she would throw away the tablets. Rosy became pregnant but was not married. When her son was born, the baby was taken away from her by the baby’s paternal grandparents because she had TB. Determined to be with her baby, Rosy then completed her treatment, and went to live with her son. However she was diagnosed with TB the third time, and she was sent back to her parents.

Rosy finally realized the importance of being regular and completing her treatment. She has now completed her treatment and is cured. She has lost faith in her relationship with her lover as he does not intend to marry her neither has he cared nor provided for her and their son.

However Rosy hopes of a brighter future and plans to leave the city to live with her maternal uncle in Delhi, who is a eunuch and whom she fondly calls aunt. Her aunt has promised to take care of her and her baby.

Completing treatment for a street dweller like Rosy is a hard task.  Poor and homeless their lives are transparent and exposed to the hard realities of life. Making them adhere to any set patterns or procedures is not easy.

Thanks to Dheena’s enduring hope and perseverance Rosy is cured and healthy today.  

Anne Theresa Suresh Kumar

REACH Blog Team

The Bond Continues

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Even after seven years of being cured Sathyabama pays Dheena a visit with great affection and gratitude. A mother of two Sathyabama was clear that at no point would she disclose the fact of TB to her husband. Though she and her husband share a relationship of love and care, disclosing TB to him was a definite NO for her, as she feared rejection.

“ Without Dheena’s care and support I would not have been able to complete my treatment. She was very accommodative and allowed me to take my tablets at my convenience. It feels great to be alive and my life is very happy. Thank you Dheena” says a cheerful Sathyabama full of gratitude.

Anne Theresa Suresh Kumar

REACH Blog Team

Kids speak: “I will stop TB by…”

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After an awareness program with school children ranging from classes 9-12, we gave them pieces of paper and asked them to complete the phrase “I will stop TB by……..”. We loved their responses.

Here are some of them:
I will stop TB by……
  1. Spreading awareness and supporting anyone that has it
  2. Making a movie
  3. Convincing friends and family to maintain a strong immune system
  4. Murdering Mr Bacteria
  5. Becoming a DOTS provider
  6. Visiting places where there is less awareness and tell them about the disease and that we can help
  7. Making short films
  8. Motivating people to overcome the disease
  9. Telling people about REACH
  10. Identifying the symptoms
  11. Have a concert to create awareness
  12. Writing articles to spread mass awareness
  13. Having outreach programs
  14. Helping people
  15. Visit some villages to treat people who are affected with TB
  16. Encouraging people not to be ashamed of it
  17. Spreading awareness about TB and AIDS
  18. Putting ads on TV
  19. Advertising about TB in my restaurants
  20. Educating young minds
  21. Volunteering!
  22. Telling people to not drink and smoke
  23. Making sure every individual is fed and has good nutrition
  24. Eating right
  25. Spreading the word on TB. world peace and unity!

Anne and Neha

REACH Team

Training Day at ICH

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The training session was at Room 23 at the Institute of Child health,(ICH), Egmore. I fumbled  for my phone looking for directions on how to get there. They made no sense. There was no deserted corridor or stairway in sight but a throng of people instead.

 Feeling lost but not wanting to be late I walked quickly into the crowd. I passed a woman sitting under a counter clutching at her child. I would have missed her completely, if not for her steady sobbing.

 Many sets of directions later I reached the stairs that lead to Room 23. The building looked empty except for a kitchen and a pathology museum. Room 23 or the Pediatric ART Clinic offered some relief. It was brightly lit, clean, had good chairs and a few colorful pictures on the wall.

 We were to be trained on how to administer a Food Security Questionnaire. The questionnaire aims to assess a family’s food security level. Now this sounds simple enough though the questions when administered are painfully personal.

 We met four women that day. They  were all HIV+ and had children that were too. Among whom three were on their own. While talking about their husbands all one woman said was “aavan illai” with such finality; We dint know if he had left the family or had died but didn’t clarify.

 We tried asking the questions without sounding intrusive or reacting to their answers. It was a task, trying to be objective, compassionate yet not condescending and pitiful. To me some of the woman we met that day were fearless and bold. Not threatened or insecure. A quite confidence as they spoke to us.

 I think we struggled more than the women we met that day.

Neha Lamech

REACH Blog Team

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