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SUCCESS STORIES - Tuberculosis

Tears of despair to tears of joy...

It is not every day that you find an extreme drug resistant TB case. When you find one, you have to put the whole health care machinery into top gear. That is what the project in Delhi did when one such case was detected.

Meera (name changed), 17 years, who was living with her parents in Mumbai came to New Delhi 3 years back for TB treatment. She stayed at her sister's in laws' place. She was treated by Damien Foundation health centre. When she failed to respond she was retreated. Still her symptoms persisted and her phlegm was positive for TB bacillus. Laboratory tests revealed that she had Multi-drug Resistant TB for which appropriate drug regimen was started. When she did not respond well to treatment even after 7 months of closely observed treatment, the staff feared the worst. She was found to have extremely resistant TB, resistant to first and two of the second line drugs. Promptly she was put on special drug regimen.

It was not easy for her. She had to take a fistful of drugs and injection everyday, tolerate uncomfortable symptoms due to the effects of drugs. She was literally quarantined in the house. She had lost all hopes of surviving the ordeal. Intense care by her sister, strong support by the staff of DF health centre who provided her nutritional supplement and continuous counseling and guidance helped her face the challenge. She began responding to the treatment. Her symptoms became less severe. When the sputum result became negative there was happiness and joy all around. She is determined to resume her studies in the 9th class. She has not forgotten her aim: to become a social science teacher. She recalls the help provided by DFIT with tears rolling down her cheeks, "The whole phase was a mental torture for me. But I was optimistic and changed my attitude. I'm very grateful to DFIT for so patiently taking care of me and my sister and brother-in-law for their incessant support, affection and care."


He felt all the ills of the world...

No one likes to think they have given someone else TB. Anyone can get TB. You must take steps to protect your family before it is too late...

Kanaiyalal, aged 41 and originally from Bihar but currently lives with his wife & four children in south New Delhi. 20 years ago, Kanaiyalal was affected by Tuberculosis, but was cured after 6 months of treatment through a private doctor. He worked for a printing press as a book binder to make a living. He was extremely attached to his daughters. With his salary, Kanaiyalal somehow managed to cover the basic expenses of family. When his elder daughter became ill and was diagnosed with MDR TB - for which she took treatment from one of our Delhi centres - Kanaiyalal was absolutely heartbroken. But then, as ill-luck would have it, he himself was diagnosed with MDR TB. Sadly, all the family members shared one room without adequate ventilation.

Subsequently, except the wife, everyone in his family contracted TB. Kanaiyalal's wife was gutted by this turn of events. She started doing menial jobs to pay for her family's expenses, and was a constant source of inspiration to the other family members. They were flat broke and living hand to mouth. Unable to face his wife's struggle, Kanaiyalal sold his house to sustain his family. He felt all the ills of the world, the tears rolling down his cheeks. But our staff continued to motivate him and ensured timely supply of drugs. DFIT supported him and his 4 TB affected children with nutritional supplements during the whole treatment of 2 years. Gradually, his TB germs started fading. He's now able to eat in good quantity and has currently put on 7 Kgs.

Kaniyalal is back to normal life now, and is able to work. DFIT provided a battery for his auto-rickshaw and he now makes a living as a rickshaw driver. He says, "I was totally in pain when I saw my daughters in sickness, but I'm extremely grateful to Damien Foundation for all the motivation and support they have given me. When nobody was supporting me, DFIT gave me HOPE."


Service to a TB patient is service to God

'Service to a TB patient is service to God' - this is how Mrs. Siddagangamma describes her role as a DOT provider. She is a mother of two children and a member of Self Help Group in Sardena Halli village, Tumkur district, Karnataka. She is a DOT provider for a TB patient. She knows exactly what she is expected to do as a DOT provider - how to administer TB / drugs when to refer for follow up. She is willing to help any TB patient in the locality. She is yet another example of service minded innocent people.

 


I want to go to School...

Master Mahesh is eight years. Two years back he started getting cough and fever. His grandmother with whom he was staying in a village in Bihar took him to a private doctor who treated him for one month without any relief. His parents who are settled in Delhi brought him to Delhi and took him to a private doctor who again treated him for one month without any relief. He was taken back to Bihar where another doctor was consulted who also treated him for two months. There was no relief. He was again brought back to Delhi and was treated by another physician for two weeks before he was referred to Damien Foundation centre. The family had spent about 10000 rupees till then. They were worried that he would not be cured. He was put on treatment for TB with nutritional supplements. His father says that he is very much interested in studies. Damien Foundation centre promised him that after completing the treatment, arrangements will be made for his education. Mahesh is recovering. He is relieved of cough, there is no fever and his appetite has improved. The whole family is grateful to Damien Foundation for saving the life of Mahesh.


It takes only a little whisper from the heart to save a family

Ruma is sixteen. She is like any other girl. She is like no other girl. Her eyes dream of a happy future. She realizes it is only a dream. When she migrated to Delhi from a small hamlet in Bihar along with her parents ten years back she did not know that her life would be a ceaseless struggle against misery. She has learnt to take any hardship that comes her way in her stride. She knows there is no other choice.

It was in February last that her new misery began. She started coughing. There was evening raise of temperature. She began to lose weight. Her father, Akilesh Singh, who was working as a security guard at a local firm, took her to Government hospital for women and children. The doctor treated her for almost two months before deciding to refer her to Damien Foundation centre at Vijay enclave where she was diagnosed to have Tuberculosis. Treatment was started. A local volunteer was identified to give her the TB drugs on alternate days. Her symptoms subsided within three weeks. Two months after starting treatment, her mother, Geeta, 35 years of age, started to get cough. She noticed blood in the sputum. She came to Damien Foundation centre. She was tested for Tuberculosis and was found to be positive. Ruma's father was called to the centre for screening. He did not have Tuberculosis. Ruma's sister Shibum nine years, and Neha, three and a half years, were also screened. Both did not have Tuberculosis. Two months later Ruma's father developed Tuberculosis. He was put on treatment. He said he would take treatment at the centre, not from community volunteer.

Ruma and her mother successfully completed treatment. Both were cured of Tuberculosis. Ruma's father is still under treatment. Ruma's mother delivered a girl 15 days back. The baby looks emaciated. Akilesh Singh is now unemployed. His frequent absence from work led to his sacking.

The family lives in a one room dwelling. The gloom inside reflects their mood and life. Geetha and Suma work as house maids and earn about 4000 rupees for the family which they say is not enough. Ruma lost all hopes. She knew that she would be like any other girl in the slum, toiling twelve hours a day, taking care of her siblings and her ailing father. Ruma wants to study. But her father says he cannot let her because that would deprive them of the sure income. The staff from Damien Foundation talked to him and finally could convince him. It was decided that Damien Foundation would support the education of Ruma and provide food supplements to the family.