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A lot of TB patients become depressed during treatment and even start having suicidal thoughts. My mission is to counsel such patients. In one such incident, a 26-year-old pregnant woman Rupa (name changed) was suffering from TB. She confided in me and told me she had suicidal thoughts because of lack of family support. I counselled Rupa and met her husband and mother-in-law. I educated them on TB and convinced them that with their support, Rupa could be cured and would be able to lead a normal life again. After a lot of efforts, I was able to convince the family to support the woman. Within two months, there was a drastic improvement in her condition. Her family later came and thanked me for my support. It was a huge motivation for me.

Another patient, 25-year-old Amit (name changed), lost all hope when he had a relapse four years after he had completed his treatment for TB. He stopped taking medicines and wasn’t coming to the center.

His mother came and cried in front of the doctor. I made it my mission to support her. I chased Amit for eight months and I had to constantly visit him at his home and bring him to the clinic. It was a struggle to get him to complete his treatment. But I was overjoyed when he was finally cured.

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I have been a DOT provider for over 20 patients and have referred over 30 patients. I have to make house visits for people who are unable to come to the clinic.

My mother-in-law and husband have been my backbone. They give priority to my work over my husband’s job or the household chores.

I have only one philosophy. What are we going to take from this world? I have sufficient means to live a good life. I don’t do this for money. I do this work because it gives me happiness and satisfaction. I feel special when people recognize me on the streets and bless me.” – Rameeza, Clinic DOTS Provider


Rameezas 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.

 

 

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