Patient story 4.JPGI used to sell fruits before I was diagnosed with TB. I live with my wife and all my children are married and live separately with their families. After getting TB, my health started deteriorating so I couldn’t work as a fruit seller anymore. I was sad about my condition. The private doctor I was visiting referred me to Lakshmi, REACH Field Officer.

Lakshmi was giving me Intensive Phase treatment (medicines for the first two months) till July this year and subsequently found me a neighboring pharmacist, who became my DOTS provider. I was not working at all during the initial months and had no means of income. I haven’t told my relatives and neighbors about my condition because I fear they will isolate me and never talk to me again.

Through all of this, my wife has been my constant support and always accompanies me when I go to take medicines.”

Patient story 4.1.JPGI also have diabetes and I am taking medicines for that as well. I am leading a normal life now and I have taken up the job of a security guard close to my home. Through all of this, my wife has been my constant support and always accompanies me when I go to take medicines. Being able to access my treatment at a pharmacy has really helped, since it is close to my house and I don’t have to go far to take my medicines.” – Chellan, TB Survivor

Mr. Chellan is a fruit seller in Triplicane in Chennai. This story is part of the new series called Voices of TB Heroesthat features TB survivors and community volunteers whove impacted the lives of those affected by TB

According to the Global TB Report for 2016 that was released last month, India continues to bear the worlds highest burden of TB, with 2.8 million people affected by the disease last year. Despite being curable, TB kills over 1000 people every day in India.

At the heart of Indias battle against TB are those directly affected by the disease. It is their stories that we need to hear, their struggles and battles we need to support and their victories we must celebrate. Please read and share these stories widely.