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Reaching Out…

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Direct personal communication is a powerful and effective method to educate people on TB. Intensified Outreach Activity (IOA) is designed to reach out to families living in an area and to converse with them about TB. The primary objective of this activity is to go to the doorsteps of marginalised and vulnerable communities, inform them about TB, its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and RNTCP services and how to avail these services.

Venkatalakshmi, a volunteer with REACH has been involved in IOA since October 2014. A resident of Korukkupet (North Chennai), her day begins at 10 am and she travels to Vyasarpadi(North Chennai) everyday to address the residents of several slums of that area. Visiting visits 20-25 houses everyday she not only educates the slum dwellers on TB, but also collects sputum and counsels symptomatics.

“Since there is stigma and taboo surrounding TB, many slum dwellers are not open about their problems” says Venkatalakshmi who has a knack of striking a conversation with the residents of the slums.

She says many times few residents refuse to talk to her or ask her to visit them later. Undeterred, Lakshmi goes back to visit them and interacts with them patiently.

“It is quite challenging for me, but I do my best to meet as many people as possible”.

Remembering one of her patients- a flower seller, Lakshmi says the flower seller dodged her three times before giving her sputum for testing. Having found positive, Lakshmi was also a DOT provider for the patient.

“I am happy to meet the residents as it is very important to create awareness” she says.

REACH thanks Venkatalakshmi for all her efforts!

 

Venkatalakshmi

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Patients First

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REACH’s pharmacy initiative aims to involve and motivate pharmacists to participate in TB control activities. With appropriate education and training in TB, there is immense scope for pharmacies to contribute to the fight against TB.

Mr. Thygiarajan, the proprietor of Guna Pharmacy is one such chemist who believes in bringing all pharmacies under one umbrella to fight TB.

“Many people aren’t aware of tuberculosis. It is necessary to create awareness among the public and sensitize the chemists as well” Says Mr. Thygiarajan.

Despite his busy schedule, his initial interactions with our staff has been fruitful. He referred a patient to our PPM centre a few months back.

“Had Mr. Thygiarajan not asked about my symptoms and referred me to REACH’s PPM centre, I would have not been alive now. My million thanks to him”. Says Kumar*, a patient who is recovering from TB.

He is also a DOT provider for Kumar and says “My friends were not encouraging when I told them that I wanted to be a DOT provider. But, I wanted Kumar to recover and become healthy”.

For Mr. Thygiarajan, it is about service and says being a DOT provider gives him immense satisfaction.

*name changed to protect identity.

 

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REACH staff checking the DOTS box with Mr. Thygiarajan