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For a TB free society…

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REACH believes in involving people from different professions to fight TB. One such active person in our mission is Dr. Sundar Raj- a Siddha practitioner. Located at Annai Sathya nagar, Off Greenways road, Chennai, the clinic is visited by people living in the vicinity.

After attending a workshop organized by REACH in 2013, he decided to help people living in his area.  Apart from curing their ailments he educates people about TB.  Since there is taboo surrounding the disease, many people do not talk openly about it. If he finds a patient having symptoms of TB he personally brings them to our PPM centre at the Hindu Welfare Centre in Alwarpet, Chennai.

“Everyone is important and I want to help as many people possible. Taking them to the welfare centre on my bike is not going to cost me much”. Said Dr. Sundar Raj

So far he has referred more than ten patients and is also a DOT provider for a pharmacist.  The residents of Annai Sathya Nagar know about his dedication to help TB patients.

“There is a 19-year old guy, who has TB and he is yet to start his treatment. I will take him to the Welfare Centre soon” said the Siddha man with a smile on his face.

Dr. Sundar Raj felt that to make the society TB free, more emphasis should be given for advocacy and removing stigma surrounding the disease.

We thank him for his dedication and sincerity!

RHP Siddha1

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Dynamic Duo

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Project Axshya operates in 14 districts of Tamil Nadu and works with the government, private sector and communities through civil society. The focus is on timely access to TB diagnosis and treatment in rural areas. One of the main success stories of this project is identifying volunteers from different strata of the society in helping us reach out to many patients. With a common purpose of helping TB patients and fight the stigma surrounding the disease our community volunteers have saved many lives.

Two such dedicated volunteers- Ravi and Ashok from Polur block, Tiruvanamalai district, have been associated with REACH for a year. Ravi is an insurance agent and Ashok is a businessman. After attending a training programme they wanted to help TB patients. As volunteers they have been collecting and transporting sputum to the DMC on a regular basis. Covering 15 villages, spread over a 25-km radius of Polur block, the duo have so far collected many sputum samples from those with TB symptoms who reside in remote areas of the block.

Despite a regular job, their eagerness to help people makes them role models. Whenever there is a need to collect sputum samples, the two find time to visit homes. They also guide people to the local DMC if they are diagnosed with TB. Interacting with patients when they go for sputum collection, they meet several people in the villages and educate them about TB.Mr. Ravi and Mr. Ashok

TB Awareness Programme

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61 students of Corporation Boys’ High School, Royapettah were educated on TB. Basic information about the disease, its symptoms, tests for detecting TB and treatment options available at govenrment hospitals were highlighted.

Posters on ‘Cough Hygiene’ were also stuck at promienent places in the school campus.

The students actively interacted with Mr. Jospeh, our Zone Coordinator.

Pamphlets were also distribued to all the students.

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Pills & Persuasion

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Since July 2013, Mr. Mahesh, a pharmacist from Kolathur has referred 10 people with TB symptoms.  After attending a training workshop conducted by REACH Mr. Mahesh became fully aware of the burgeoning problem of TB in India.

Mahesh has a friendly disposition and if he finds his customers coughing he enquires about their health and prescribes correct medicines. If they show any symptoms of TB he immediately refers them to our PPM centre.

A medical representative used to visit the pharmacy had symptoms of TB. Despite counseling him and making him understand the need to get his sputum tested, the representative was not keen. But, Mahesh did not give up and constantly persuaded the representative to go for a checkup. After days of persuasion, the medical representative finally got his sputum tested and it turned out to be positive. Immediately, the representative started his treatment in a private hospital and is now recovering well.

Thanking him for his timely intervention the representative said he will never forget Mahesh. To be more involved in our struggle to fight against TB, Mahesh wants to be a DOT provider. He is very keen on creating awareness about the disease in slums.

Mahesh still continues to refer many patients to us and we thank him for all his efforts.

To the Pilgrims, for the Pilgrims!

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The festival of Thaipusam is celebrated with pomp and glory in the state of Tamil Nadu. Every year, the temple town of Palani sees a huge gathering of pilgrims between December and January.  It is common for scores of devotees to commence their ascent of the hill to worship the Lord Subrahmanyan. The uphill climb can be exhausting and several camps are situated along the way to help the devotees rest and provide basic medical care.  Life TB Forum had one such camp on the route.

‘Life TB Forum’ has been an active group of people educating and creating awareness on TB in Dindugal district.  Around 13 volunteers from this forum decided to serve the pilgrims. From providing drinking water to cleaning wounds, they found this camp to be an ideal place to reach out to several people and create awareness on TB and cough hygiene practices.

Every day, they spent three hours in the morning talking to pilgrims who walked into their camp to rest. The forum members focused more on cough hygiene as it was cold and many of the devotees were coughing (a common mode of spreading TB). The pilgrims interacted with the members and also raised many doubts. Educating them on the treatment options available at government hospitals pamphlets were also distributed to the pilgrims.

“The devotees listened to us with a lot of patience and we were able to spend a good amount of time talking to them” said Mr. Ravi, an active member of the forum.

REACH applauds the efforts of ‘Life TB Forum’.

A TB Forum member handing out a pamphlet.

A TB Forum member handing out a pamphlet.

 

Man on a Mission!

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As a proprietor of a pharmacy in Pattinampakkam; Bharat is not an ordinary pharmacist.  Apart from giving the prescribed medicines to patients; he pays special attention to people who come with symptoms of TB.

After a staff from REACH visited his pharmacy and educated him about tuberculosis, Bharat realised the burden of TB in our country.  His interest in TB grew and as a pharmacist he understood the importance of referring patients to DOT centre. Since then he has been keen on being a part of our organisation to fight against TB.

Once he identifies a patient with the symptoms of TB, he educates them on the disease and the importance of sputum test. So far, he has referred around 50 patients and is also a DOT provider. In the last eight years several patients have been visiting his pharmacy to take their medicines. He also counsels the patients by highlighting the need to complete the treatment.

Purushothaman, a cured TB patient was referred by Bharath to REACH. Having no clue about TB or its treatment; Bharath’s timely intervention saved Purushothaman his life.

“I am grateful to Bharath because he saved my life”. Says Purushtohaman.

Bharat is also involved in advocacy in his community.  He creates awareness about the disease, its symptoms and all the free treatment options available at government hospitals.

“Once they are cured, they bless me which makes me happy”; says Bharat, who still continues to play is part in the fight against TB.