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“I am happy to be able to work again”

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Patient story 5.JPG“My father died of Tuberculosis 10 years ago. So, when I was diagnosed with TB, I was sure I would die too. I was depressed and had no hope left. I was physically tired all the time and stopped coming to work. My mother was very worried about me. My wife motivated me to take healthy diet and medicines and she was my emotional support.

At the same time, Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI) got in touch with me and gave me hope. They made me believe that I could be cured. It’s because of SMI that I am healthy and living. Before that I had been admitted to so many hospitals but in vain. But later, SMI team counseled me and provided me DOTS treatment. Now I am free of the disease and am able to work again.

If I find anybody with two weeks of cough, I take them for sputum test even if that means taking leave from work.

Patient story 5.1.JPGI am happy that I am able to come here and work as a healthy person as I like working.

If I find anybody with two weeks of cough, I take them for sputum test even if that means taking leave from work. My family is referring a lot of people with symptoms and I have referred two people as well. I will be with them till the end of their treatment and prioritize them over my work.” – Suresh, TB Survivor


Mr Suresh sells vegetables at the Koyembedu market in Chennai. REACH implements Project Axshya through Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI) in Tiruvallur Distrcict, Tamil Nadu.

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.

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“When my husband got Tuberculosis, I had no idea what it was”

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community-engagement-story-2“When my husband got Tuberculosis, I had no idea what it was. My husband was an alcoholic and wasn’t concerned about me and our family. He didn’t take his medicines regularly. During the time of Chennai floods, I got a call from the DMC that my husband wasn’t taking regular treatment. I tried to convince him but eventually gave up. I was working as a house maid at that time. Someone from REACH came to visit us to follow-up on my husband’s treatment. During one of the visits, he told my mother that they were looking for a volunteer to work with REACH. My mother referred me as I have seen the disease up close. More

“TB is nothing to be afraid of…”

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“I was a smoker at the time I was diagnosed with TB two years ago. The doctor told me I was even more at risk due to my habit of smoking. I was miserable because I couldn’t even hug or kiss my children when I wanted to.

I wanted to be healthy. In fact, even before I got TB, I was scared of going near my children because I used to smell of cigarettes all the time and it wasn’t healthy for my children. So, after starting treatment I quit smoking. More

“He died at 25 of TB, leaving me alone to face the world..”

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“My husband was a drug addict and an alcoholic. When he got TB, Suganya from REACH contacted me for getting tested. My children and I were taken for a screening test and X-ray and my younger child was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. Had Suganya not intervened, I wouldn’t have taken the issue seriously as I did not know that TB could have infected my family. My younger child has completed treatment but my older one was diagnosed recently and is on treatment.

My husband had all the bad habits, which made him prone to diseases like TB. When he couldn’t walk due to TB, I used to go to the center to fetch medicines but he would refuse to take them. It has been six months since my husband died. More

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