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I was burnt at the age of 13 and after that incident people stopped talking to me due to my burn marks. A lot of people in the area do not speak to me. I rear sheep for a living.

Three months ago, I went to a nearby health center for four days after I started having symptoms of TB but the lab technician was not present so I wasn’t getting tested. Then a friend of mine, who had attended a community meeting organized by an NGO, became aware of my symptoms and referred me to a REACH volunteer. I went for a sputum test following which I was diagnosed with TB.  I have pain in my chest and difficulty in breathing but I am taking my medicines regularly.

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I face stigma in my house regularly due to my disease. My family constitutes of my father, my step-mother, my two brothers and myself. I am not allowed to sleep in my own house because my step-mother fears that the rest of the family will get infected. I go in the evenings to sleep in a small abandoned hut along with my aunt.

But the good thing is that now I am getting nutritional support and my weight has increased from 38 to 43 kgs. I am hopeful that I will get well soon. Kesavdani, TB Patient


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.

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