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Heartening feedback from our interns

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REACH is happy to share some of the feedback we got from interns of social work, who have been closely working with us for the past month.

“It was after a detailed orientation about tuberculosis and REACH that I was placed in the PPM centre in Sugam hospital. It was here that I got to observe first-hand and interact with persons affected by TB (who take DOTS medicines) and to learn and realize their physical, emotional and occupational status more empathetically. Apart from community visits, pharmacy visits and creating skits for awareness on TB, I was also part of a programme on increasing awareness on better nutrition among women (alongside Mrs Shanthi). On a personal level, it was inspiring to see the dedication of the staff and the difference team work can make to the growth of the organisation. More importantly, I learnt that if the freedom and individuality of staff is nurtured, as it is in REACH, it can greatly benefit any organisation. ”

– R Sukanya Olive, student of social work, Stella Maris college

“Despite the scorching heat, potholed roads and poor transport ,REACH staff are carrying out amazing patient health care by frequent home visits and follow-up to avoid default  and withdrawal from treatment. As a budding social work student, I learnt the importance of determination, passion and hard work from them. I also learnt many other things from REACH workers, which I am sure will give me constructive ideas for my further practice in social work.”

– Angelin Danielraj, student of social work, Stella Maris college

Angelin Danielraj, a student of social work

Angelin Danielraj, a student of social work

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“Being diagnosed with TB: Why Me?”

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“When I was diagnosed with pleural TB six months ago, the first thought that popped into my head was, “Why me? I have done nothing wrong, what did I do to deserve this?” I had completed my engineering and was to be married in a few months. Several things worried me – would my fiancé accept that I had TB? It seemed better to just call it off. When the social worker told me that I had TB, I just broke down and cried for several hours, I couldn’t stop myself. I stayed depressed for days and seriously thought of calling off my impending wedding, but my mother helped me through that. And after being counselled by the social worker (Chithra ma`am) and speaking to several other TB patients, I was re-assured and began to take things in my stride – TB was curable, after all.

Today, I am in the sixth month of medication and feeling much better. All this while I have kept my condition a secret from everyone at home, including my husband. But today, I plan on telling him. I’m nervous, but I will tell him.”

–         Srija* (patient’s named changed)

“I took all my tablets on time – so what went wrong?”

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A 38-year-old handy repairman, Rahul* (named changed) was misdiagnosed for several months, before he finally found out that he had TB. Despite terrible side-effects he continued taking the DOTS medicines regularly – he experienced giddiness, nausea and joint pains. But still, he knew he had to be meticulous with taking the anti-TB drugs and remained regular with treatment.

However, when his test results came out a few months into treatment, he found that his condition had only worsened. Disheartened, he blamed the poor quality of the government DOTS medication and refused to continue with the treatment. However, after counselling, he admitted that he hadn’t been regular with the injections prescribed along with his TB medication – Rahul was highly diabetic. After being extensively counselled, Rahul is back on his anti-TB medication and is careful with his diabetic condition as well.

 

–         Story by: S Chitra, social worker

“I didn’t take TB seriously, until I got an ultimatum – death.”

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At first sight, Raju* (named changed for anonymity) looks older than his 27 years. His frame is thin and his eyes seem misty. He sits down and tells his story: “When I was diagnosed with sputum positive TB earlier this year, I did not take it seriously. Life seemed to go on as usual – I didn’t have a job and lived off my father’s earnings, I drank heavily every evening with my friends and didn’t take the anti-TB medicines regularly. My tests too began to show sputum negative for a couple of months, before I went back to being sputum positive. I even had fits at night. I had progressed to Cat 2 TB.”

The doctor at the hospital, where I go to take my DOTS medicine, then explained things clearly to me – he said they had saved me this once, but if I defaulted on medicines again, they would not be able to save my life. That’s when the full reality of the disease hit me. I have been to a de-addiction centre, and am now regularly taking medicines. There are side-effects sometimes – giddiness and nausea, but I am determined to complete the course of medicines this time. Over the past few months, I’ve completely given up alcohol – no more of that for me. My weight has increased by 10 kilos. And I even make a living delivering milk. I have reclaimed my life, and it would not have been possible without the prayers of my wife and mother, and the grace of God.”

–         Story by: S Chitra, Social worker