A Happy Coming Together

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It was a moment of triumph for me to see Surya walk into the Medavakkam REACH DOTS centre with her little bundle of joy cuddled up between her arms. Surya had happiness written across her face as she beamed with glee.  A total contrast to what she was when I first met her two weeks back.

Surya’s brother had come to the DOTS centre with a referral from the Medavakkam Government Hospital to start her on DOTS. Surya stayed at her parental home as part of the custom after delivery, usually followed to allow a woman recuperate her health after child birth before she goes back to her husband’s home. I met an extremely gloomy looking girl who seemed to be disinterested in what I had to say . When I enquired what  her grief was about, her parents  told  me that she had delivered a baby two weeks ago, after which she had severe cough. Surya was diagnosed with Tuberculosis at the Government TB Sanatorium. When they consulted their nearby family doctor, he advised her husband to take the baby away from her and stop her from nursing the baby. He said they could give back the baby to her after she started to feel better.

I immediately called her husband and requested him to meet me at the DOTS centre. He did not turn up. Meanwhile I started Surya on treatment. A week later her husband visited me, I explained to him that a mother does not spread the disease through breast milk. I also made it clear to him that his wife was a sputum negative patient, and that such patients do not spread the disease. I also told him that after two weeks of treatment a patient is safer and does not spread the disease.” Please don’t deprive your baby of her mother’s milk, a right of every child to good health” I explained. I further gave them the number of the Medical Officer from the Medavakkam Government Tuberculosis Unit, from whom they could further verify and get a second opinion on what I had said. However, understanding, what I said and clear of all his misconceptions, Surya’s husband handed over the baby to her.

After the tragic separation Surya and her little one are now back together, happy and engrossed in each other’s company.           


REACH Blog Team

Doctors Stopping TB

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Dr. Raghu Nanda Kumar, at his Care & Cure clinic.

Dr. Raghu Nanda Kumar stops TB by referring TB patients from his Care and Cure clinic for DOTS treatment. He says patients in the periurban areas are unable to adhere to treatment due to the high cost of TB drugs. Free drugs supplied through the DOTS strategy is a boon for such patients and enables them to complete treatment elaborates Dr. Raghu.

‘I want more patients in periurban areas to use the DOTS program” says Dr. Raghu.

REACH Blog Team

The Role of the Field Officers is fundamental for the Success of DOTS

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Dr. SangeethaBalasubramaniam, M. D.,
Consultant Physician, Diabetes &Hypertension Specialist

A modest two room clinic with all the essentials in place is what describes Dr. Sangeetha’s practice space on a narrow lane occupied with automobile shacks at Border Thottam, Mount Road. This busy, young doc who portrays the perfect picture of a compassionate doctor, has been doing DOTS for the past four years and has put fifteen of her patients on DOTS so far.

Dr. Sangeetha, as a policy, immediately waivers her consultation fee for a patient when he or she is diagnosed with Tuberculosis. Her team at the clinic which includes two nurses; Latha and Nisha do a good job in motivating patients to get back on track when they loose to follow-up.

Her first encounter with DOTS was through REACH and feels it is an essential tool for a lower middle class area like Border Thottam where potential patients exist. “TB treatment is a long process which makes close follow up an essential. DOTS avails this kind of follow up and free drugs too. The role of the field officers is crucial in the success of DOTS. They coordinate with us and engage in all forms of needed networking to help a patient towards cure. I have shown up for two workshops arranged by REACH for private practitioners which I find very useful. To help a patient complete treatment I take up different roles in terms of being a kind friend to a strict police man” explains Dr.Sangeetha.

REACH Blog Team