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“Someone close to me was diagnosed with Tuberculosis in 2013 and I used to take them to CSI Rainy DOTS Centre for treatment. At around the same time in 2013, I was introduced to Shanthi, who was working with REACH, when she had come for an awareness program in our locality. I became very interested in the program and started referring anyone who had symptoms of TB to REACH. Due to my relative’s illness, I became aware of DOTS treatment and thought of becoming a provider in my area.

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Today, I am a DOTS provider for six patients. I go to the patients’ houses and make sure that they take their medicines on time.

Somebody did it for me, so it is my duty to do it for others. People should be healthy and be well taken care of. Sadly, there aren’t many people to take care of others. As a Self Help Group leader, I have always looked out for ways to support people in my community. I also organize community awareness drives. A lot of times, people are not interested in such programs but I push them to attend the events. It doesn’t take much time to care for others but it ensures their good health and well-being, which gives me a lot of contentment.” – Vijayrani, Volunteer

Ms Vijayrani is an SHG leader in Tsunami Quarters, North Chennai. This story is part of our 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.