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“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”  –  Luther Burbank

She brings me flowers whenever she meets me. It is all flowers blossomed from her own garden, different varieties and in different colours.

Chandra* was introduced to me as a symptomatic patient and diagnosed with TB. She has undergone lots of psychological and emotional stress when she was affected with TB. She faced struggle at home managing with the teenage children and inattentive husband. Above all, burden of TB fuelled her struggle into massive psychological catastrophe. She looked very unmanageable whenever she came to take DOTS.

During my home visit to Chandra’s home, I found a little space around her home. I suggested her to plan for gardening as a way to drain the stress. I told her to take some time to water the plants in the morning and evening; observe at the plants, flowers and the way it grows. I just wanted herself to feel refreshed free of her stress so suggested the way.  It worked out for the purpose it was suggested.

How her struggle with the family and the disease put under control was another tale…! But the life flowing, beautiful garden added colours to her life, scaling up her energy to blow up the devastation which she led into.

It is all because of flowers smiling at her colourfully and green plants nodding at her energetically, taught her handling the problems, balancing her emotions and of course yes, managing the disease pathway towards Cure.

She brings flowers for me, both, she and a flower smile at me blissfully… So I.

– shared by Ms. Shanthi, PPM Initiative, REACH.

*Name is changed to protect the identity


Now, diabetics to get tested for TB

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A fine morning, my official day started when I am pushing myself into the electric train amidst the horde of office goers. A miracle can happen once in a while, it happened – alas, I got the seat near the window. While train started moving, the fresh breeze blew on my face and my eyes were closed to enjoy the journey towards my Work Place.

Suddenly my ears were bewildered with the strong sound of a cough. As a reflex action to a stimulus of coughing sound, my head turned to a lady sitting near me immediately. She was groomed up well brightly, seemed to be well educated and an office goer. She coughed out continuously, but with no precautionary action of closing her mouth. Nobody showed any concern over it, but I started feeling uncomfortable sitting there. I found no way to tell her how important it is to cover her mouth while coughing. Feeling helpless, I looked around, found the empty seat in the other corner invited me to occupy and I did.

A thought flashed – Few months before I had also been similarly like her. If I am not employed in REACH and not sensitized to cough with care, I also will continue to be the same.

How to annoy an unknown person who cough without care by telling her to take care of others around while coughing, that too, in a public place?!  I got down from the train and walking towards the office, lugging with this question, still searching for an answer!!

— Shared by Sudaroli, REACH

Sensitization program for IDF on Tuberculosis

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It is for a Day on 15th June 2016, as a team from REACH, we conducted a program for the staff working in Indian Development Foundation located at Mogappair. About 20 members working with Leprosy programs were assembled from different parts of Tamil Nadu for the program.

We went ahead with the planned workshop schedule and provided inputs on Barriers in the Cough to Cure pathway, Basics of Tuberculosis, Patient Charter- Rights and Responsibilities, and Recent Advances in TB.

It was a good experience for all of us from different Initiatives of REACH, coming together for conducting the program.

-Shared by Ms. Sheela , Ms. Nalini, Mr. James and Dr.GuruKarthik from various Initiatives of REACH


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pharmacist - a championPharmacist - a champion1

“You look out there and there’s people that, their day is changed because of your contribution to it.”      – Brad Praisely

These words are remembered with the role of the pharmacist in augmenting our efforts in TB Control as follows:

I am Thirulogachandar, a pharmacist running AVI Medicals in Kolathur, Chennai. It has been 20 years since I am in the pharmacy field. One fine day, just 4 years back, I got introduced to REACH and their initiative of engaging pharmacies in TB Control. Being motivated by the objective of the organization, I decided to work towards the Noble Cause – Ending TB.

I usually do not get as many customers who come with the symptoms of TB as I am dealing more with the psychiatric medicines. How can I contribute towards TB Control?

I joined with the Pharmacy Initiative Team of REACH.  Being a Treasurer of Chemist & Druggist Association (C&DA), Chennai, I have an easy access to influence the key personnel of different Zonal Druggist Associations. Slowly there started a schedule allotted for REACH in the zonal meetings to talk about the role of pharmacists in TB Control. Gradually the pharmacists started enrolling into TB control – referring the symptomatic patients for TB diagnosis, spreading awareness, issuing IEC materials about TB to the patients, being a DOT Provider etc.,

Now it becomes a regular practice to include the discussion on TB Control in every Annual General Meeting of C& DA. It leaves me with the satisfaction of being a kind of ‘lead’ in reaching more pharmacists to engage themselves in TB Control.

— Shared by Mr. Thirulogachandar, Treasurer, Chemist & Druggist Association (C&DA), Chennai.


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It is well defined – “The Counselling is to work with people over a short or long term to help them bring about effective change or enhance their well-being.”

It is not only the medication, but also Counselling plays a major role in curing the disease.  The patients may undergo the psychological trauma replete with the ebb and flow of their emotions. This burden of disease sometimes makes them to discontinue the medicines, results in severe illness.

The journey of 18 year old TB patient Savitha* tells volumes of such psychological stress when she shuffled from one corner to another with wrong diagnosis.   She was initially diagnosed with MDR TB but finally with none other than Pulmonary TB & also Extra Pulmonary TB. Referred by a Pharmacist – Narayana Pharmacy to REACH, she was assisted not only with a correct diagnosis, but mainly with counselling and continuous follow up to complete the treatment. The effort of counselling also influenced her family members to undergo the TB diagnosis Test and were declared negative.

“I could not balance my emotions and could not take it up when I was diagnosed with TB” – a pharmacist who supports REACH in TB Control.  He knows about TB, he advocates people and helps in TB control. Still, when he faced the malady directly by himself, he was completely broken and could not execute what he advocated.  His emotional hurdles along the pathway of TB treatment was completely removed at each and every step by effective counselling of the REACH Staff.

“I completely understood the dynamics of TB and my crucial role in TB control when I myself experienced the mindset of a patient. I am proud to be part of this initiative” he said – his words reveal the competent role of Counselling towards ‘Ending TB’.

*name changed to protect the identity

– shared by the Pharmacy Initiative team


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According to World Health Organization (WHO), “TB is nevertheless a leading infectious cause of death among women and about 700 000 women die of TB annually around the world.”

Why does it happen? What are the factors that make women die of TB?

Cultural and financial barriers can act as major obstacles for women seeking care resulting in delayed presentation and more severe illness. People with chronic, infectious diseases such as TB and HIV are generally stigmatized and avoided. Women suffer more stigma and discrimination than men. Stigma and discrimination make women reluctant to seek care for TB until the disease is advanced.

Saroja* is suffering from MDR TB today, backed up with her long story of malady unfavorably on her. Her initial treatment for TB was irregular due to constant family problems with her husband. TB was one of the main issues that made her husband to desert her and leave her utterly alone. She found it difficult to think about her illness and had to make several adjustments for herself and her children. She lost both the moral and financial support from her life partner. As per our cultural norms, a married woman’s life in society is marked by her marital status and if the husband deserts her, she becomes the ridicule of her family as well as the society.  The social and financial stress forced her often to discontinue her treatment and she gradually ended up by developing drug resistant TB.

Savithiri*is an XDR TB patient, Being a spinster, she was taken care by her brother when she had undergone treatment for MDR TB. Her treatment got interrupted due to the sudden demise of her brother. She was totally isolated by her sisters who refused to provide her a nutritious diet. They just believed that their brother expired because he attended to her specially. The loss of economic security was of larger concern for having sick sister in the family. Family bonds can suffer when someone has TB and sometimes family members can be heartless in their actions. At present the patient is admitted in a tertiary hospital for her XDR treatment.

How can these women cope up to the rigors of TB treatment? With Absolutely no care from their loved ones, they are dependent on the care from the health system that is already heavily burdened.

Treatment for TB is not only lies in the qualitative, timely medical care, but also with the societal care of patients beyond any discrimination. Society must inculcate in people that they do not abandon their family member when they have TB, but try to adhere to the doctor’s advice and provide care. Psychological support cannot be provided with medicines alone, but with tender loving care, from the family members. Quality treatment and loving care are both necessary for patients with TB.

These patients were identified by pharmacists and have been directed to proper care services of the government. They are under regular follow up of the field officers. We hope the best treatment outcomes in spite of their life situations and hope that their families provide them the love and care they need.

*name changed to protect the identity

— shared by our Pharmacy Initiative Team.


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‘Waiting’ – the process may not be attractive or pleasant, in fact to anybody at many times.

Clock ticks … It is a busy hour of a Private Medical Practitioner’s Clinic… Myriad of patients, from children to old people, awaiting to get healed….  of course, different people having various illnesses, keeping their work aside to meet the Doctor to cure their illness. Everybody has the purposeful waiting as I do, but for a prescribed stipulated time to get their turn to be attended and move on……

I wait to meet the doctor for engaging him with us in TB Control activities to make India ‘TB Free”. The duration of ‘Waiting’ will fluctuate, but mostly ‘Uncertain’. Many a times the Doctor will peep out and say “Hi” and call me, but the stern attendant will decide to let me wait a bit longer… Okay… so it be. At other times the benevolent attendant will let me in but the patient will fight for his turn as I am looking healthy and happy…. A good old Tamil proverb comes to my mind, “God gives the boon, but the priest will have to permit too…”

But once you get your turn and the doctor patiently listens to me and happy to be a part of the TB control programme with the objective of saving Patient’s life at the centre stage… Alas, all the waiting and anxiety disappear giving way to so much Satisfaction… A day lived well indeed…

— shared by Dr. Radha, Project Director (EQUIP), REACH.