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“Children are our future and we need more TB awareness initiatives for them.”

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“I was thrilled when a REACH team member approached me to join the pharmacy initiative. Poor people cannot afford treatment and do not have the right knowledge about Tuberculosis. It gives me immense satisfaction to do this work for the poor. In this area, most of the people are poor. When I find a person with TB symptoms, I counsel them and ask them to meet Shanthi from REACH. I have referred over 30 people to REACH in the last year and I have been associated with REACH for the past four years.

Right now I am providing TB medicines to four patients under direct observation. If a patient is alcoholic, I counsel them and push them to quit drinking and to take their medicines. I tell these patients that Tuberculosis is curable and that they can rebuild their lives.

The one thing that bothers me the most is that there are no awareness initiatives for children. Children are our future and if they have the right knowledge, we can successfully curb TB.” – S. Mani, Pharmacist


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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“My mission – to counsel TB patients with depression”

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A lot of TB patients become depressed during treatment and even start having suicidal thoughts. My mission is to counsel such patients. In one such incident, a 26-year-old pregnant woman Rupa (name changed) was suffering from TB. She confided in me and told me she had suicidal thoughts because of lack of family support. I counselled Rupa and met her husband and mother-in-law. I educated them on TB and convinced them that with their support, Rupa could be cured and would be able to lead a normal life again. After a lot of efforts, I was able to convince the family to support the woman. Within two months, there was a drastic improvement in her condition. Her family later came and thanked me for my support. It was a huge motivation for me.

Another patient, 25-year-old Amit (name changed), lost all hope when he had a relapse four years after he had completed his treatment for TB. He stopped taking medicines and wasn’t coming to the center.

His mother came and cried in front of the doctor. I made it my mission to support her. I chased Amit for eight months and I had to constantly visit him at his home and bring him to the clinic. It was a struggle to get him to complete his treatment. But I was overjoyed when he was finally cured.

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I have been a DOT provider for over 20 patients and have referred over 30 patients. I have to make house visits for people who are unable to come to the clinic.

My mother-in-law and husband have been my backbone. They give priority to my work over my husband’s job or the household chores.

I have only one philosophy. What are we going to take from this world? I have sufficient means to live a good life. I don’t do this for money. I do this work because it gives me happiness and satisfaction. I feel special when people recognize me on the streets and bless me.” – Rameeza, Clinic DOTS Provider


Rameezas 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.

 

 

Spotting a Volunteer

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Seen in the picture is Manikandan with his DOTS cap

As I rattled the TB facts to my audience during a TB awareness program at Koku Maedu village in Minjuir block, Thiruvalur District, I noticed a head nodding in constant agreement with all that I said. I also noticed the word DOTS in bold spelt on his cap. Unable to confine my curiosity I asked him where he got the cap from. Manikandan explained that he had attended a TB rally two years back. “Ever since this cap has been in my safe keeping. I have also seen how nurses administer the DOTS tablets in my village. If given a chance, I would like to be a DOTS provider to patients with TB” said an enthusiastic Manikandan.

“I now have another addition to my list of community support volunteers on whom I can lean back for support” Dinakar Sai

REACH Blog Team