Going to the root of a problem, be it great or small, always pays. I learnt this recently, when I noticed a pattern in the cases referred to the Medavakkam DOTS centre, that I am in charge of – about 4 or 5 patients came from Tambaram, all in small gaps of time between each other. In the course of conversation, I realised that they had all been visiting a local doctor in the area, who had put them through a series of non-TB medication until they were forced to go to a bigger hospital to diagnose their condition.

I decided to pay a visit to the doctor – I found he was a young and friendly man, and explained that Tuberculosis could be diagnosed early and that this could it turn stop the spread of TB within the community. I also told him about the 5 patients who had come to the Medavakkam DOTS centre, after being improperly diagnosed. The doctor seemed to realise that participating in TB control and in the DOTS programme would also help him win the trust of his patients. He even volunteered to become a DOTS provider for one of those 5 patients.

After that, I have gotten several suspected referral cases from him for sputum tests and he has recently identified a sputum positive case. If we can all collectively work towards TB control, Zero TB might not be just a dream.

– Joseph John, Social Worker, REACH