“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.


“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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“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”  –  Luther Burbank

She brings me flowers whenever she meets me. It is all flowers blossomed from her own garden, different varieties and in different colours.

Chandra* was introduced to me as a symptomatic patient and diagnosed with TB. She has undergone lots of psychological and emotional stress when she was affected with TB. She faced struggle at home managing with the teenage children and inattentive husband. Above all, burden of TB fuelled her struggle into massive psychological catastrophe. She looked very unmanageable whenever she came to take DOTS.

During my home visit to Chandra’s home, I found a little space around her home. I suggested her to plan for gardening as a way to drain the stress. I told her to take some time to water the plants in the morning and evening; observe at the plants, flowers and the way it grows. I just wanted herself to feel refreshed free of her stress so suggested the way.  It worked out for the purpose it was suggested.

How her struggle with the family and the disease put under control was another tale…! But the life flowing, beautiful garden added colours to her life, scaling up her energy to blow up the devastation which she led into.

It is all because of flowers smiling at her colourfully and green plants nodding at her energetically, taught her handling the problems, balancing her emotions and of course yes, managing the disease pathway towards Cure.

She brings flowers for me, both, she and a flower smile at me blissfully… So I.

– shared by Ms. Shanthi, PPM Initiative, REACH.

*Name is changed to protect the identity


Now, diabetics to get tested for TB

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A fine morning, my official day started when I am pushing myself into the electric train amidst the horde of office goers. A miracle can happen once in a while, it happened – alas, I got the seat near the window. While train started moving, the fresh breeze blew on my face and my eyes were closed to enjoy the journey towards my Work Place.

Suddenly my ears were bewildered with the strong sound of a cough. As a reflex action to a stimulus of coughing sound, my head turned to a lady sitting near me immediately. She was groomed up well brightly, seemed to be well educated and an office goer. She coughed out continuously, but with no precautionary action of closing her mouth. Nobody showed any concern over it, but I started feeling uncomfortable sitting there. I found no way to tell her how important it is to cover her mouth while coughing. Feeling helpless, I looked around, found the empty seat in the other corner invited me to occupy and I did.

A thought flashed – Few months before I had also been similarly like her. If I am not employed in REACH and not sensitized to cough with care, I also will continue to be the same.

How to annoy an unknown person who cough without care by telling her to take care of others around while coughing, that too, in a public place?!  I got down from the train and walking towards the office, lugging with this question, still searching for an answer!!

— Shared by Sudaroli, REACH

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