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“I was thrilled when a REACH team member approached me to join the pharmacy initiative. Poor people cannot afford treatment and do not have the right knowledge about Tuberculosis. It gives me immense satisfaction to do this work for the poor. In this area, most of the people are poor. When I find a person with TB symptoms, I counsel them and ask them to meet Shanthi from REACH. I have referred over 30 people to REACH in the last year and I have been associated with REACH for the past four years.

Right now I am providing TB medicines to four patients under direct observation. If a patient is alcoholic, I counsel them and push them to quit drinking and to take their medicines. I tell these patients that Tuberculosis is curable and that they can rebuild their lives.

The one thing that bothers me the most is that there are no awareness initiatives for children. Children are our future and if they have the right knowledge, we can successfully curb TB.” – S. Mani, Pharmacist

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.