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“Somebody did it for me, so it is my duty to do it for others.”

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“Someone close to me was diagnosed with Tuberculosis in 2013 and I used to take them to CSI Rainy DOTS Centre for treatment. At around the same time in 2013, I was introduced to Shanthi, who was working with REACH, when she had come for an awareness program in our locality. I became very interested in the program and started referring anyone who had symptoms of TB to REACH. Due to my relative’s illness, I became aware of DOTS treatment and thought of becoming a provider in my area. More

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“I was diagnosed with TB and HIV but I wasn’t scared”

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“I had TB symptoms for the first time four years ago when I started coughing incessantly, lost my appetite and was exhausted all the time. I went to see a government doctor in his private clinic, who initially gave me regular medication. But when there was no improvement in my condition, I was sent for an X-Ray. The doctor referred me to a primary healthcare center after I was diagnosed with TB. I wasn’t scared at all because my doctor assured me that I could be cured. I took medicines regularly for six months and was cured but after three months of getting cured, I had a relapse. At this time I also had a test for HIV and was declared positive. More

“I have TB and Diabetes but I am leading a normal life.”

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Patient story 4.JPGI used to sell fruits before I was diagnosed with TB. I live with my wife and all my children are married and live separately with their families. After getting TB, my health started deteriorating so I couldn’t work as a fruit seller anymore. I was sad about my condition. The private doctor I was visiting referred me to Lakshmi, REACH Field Officer.

Lakshmi was giving me Intensive Phase treatment (medicines for the first two months) till July this year and subsequently found me a neighboring pharmacist, who became my DOTS provider. I was not working at all during the initial months and had no means of income. I haven’t told my relatives and neighbors about my condition because I fear they will isolate me and never talk to me again.

Through all of this, my wife has been my constant support and always accompanies me when I go to take medicines.”

Patient story 4.1.JPGI also have diabetes and I am taking medicines for that as well. I am leading a normal life now and I have taken up the job of a security guard close to my home. Through all of this, my wife has been my constant support and always accompanies me when I go to take medicines. Being able to access my treatment at a pharmacy has really helped, since it is close to my house and I don’t have to go far to take my medicines.” – Chellan, TB Survivor


Mr. Chellan is a fruit seller in Triplicane in Chennai. 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

A Cured Patient Stopping TB

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Thirumal is a 42 year old patient who has just been cured from Tuberculosis after undergoing DOTS treatment through the REACH Minjuir DOTS centre. Couple of months back Thirumal was in bad shape. He could barely stand on his feet and couldn’t even go about his daily duties without assistance. Cured now and aware of the nature of the disease,Thirumal talks about the disease and its symptoms to people in his vicinity. He assists the REACH staff at the DOTS centre in creating awareness in the community by distributing pamphlets containing TB information and by mobilizing people to attend TB talks.

“I want a community free of TB” says Thirumal.

Sai Dinakar

REACH Blog Team

Sweets and Savories Packed in a Pink Bag

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From lying in the corner of a room to sitting up and briskly walking Rathnam has come a long way.

During our initial meeting, 75 year old Rathnam was too ill to even figure out who I was. She uttered her problems about her illness with dismay. I then counseled her about the treatment and encouraged her to adhere to treatment to get well soon.

During my second visit, she looked much better and had regained the strength to sit. She complained about how hard the tablets were on her and that she would not take them anymore. I explained that she had to continue with the tablets to fight the TB bacilli lodged in her body. She asked me if that meant that they were worms in her body. To make her comply with treatment I told her it was something similar. Alarmed she said she would continue her tablets.

During my following visits to her house Rathnam often wanted to express her appreciation by giving me some cash, a cool drink or food. However I always managed to resist this in a pleasant manner.

Rathnam was regular with her treatment and was cured. Before my final visit her daughter called me to confirm the time that I would be visiting them.  However on my final visit Rathnam had gone to her son’s house and her granddaughter was at work. Her daughter greeted me with a warm smile but was unhappy about Rathnams absence and her daughters too.

As I left she came up to me hurriedly and handed over a pretty pink carry bag packed with sweets and savories. I refused to receive it, but she pleaded and said that this was specially packed by Rathnam and her daughter for me. Not wanting to upset her I received the bag. The bag read “Thank YOU Best Wishes”.

I left with a pleasant feeling that filled my heart with joy.

Vidhya

REACH Blog Team