40yr old Sundari is a widow, she lives alone in Southern India and works at a local cotton mill as a cleaner, earning just over £1 for a day’s work. Last year Sundari fell ill, she had a nasty cough, was losing weight and suffering from night sweats, she had no idea that her symptoms pointed to TB. As her conditioned worsened she was forced to stop working and unable to afford the 30p bus fair to the closest hospital she visited her nearest pharmacist, who charged her for some useless medication and her health continued to deteriorate.
One day Sundari was sat outside her small home coughing and worrying about her deteriorating health when Kavitha, a Target TB trained co-ordinator, heard her coughing and came over to talk to her. Kavitha told Sundari that her symptoms pointed to TB and took her there and then by Auto-rickshaw to the hospital for testing.
Sundari was diagnosed with TB and started on immediate treatment. Kavitha explained to her that her health would improve, but that it would take time, she linked her up with a local Target TB trained volunteer, who is giving her all the emotional and practical support she needs to complete her 8 months of TB treatment.
Sundari is now back at the mill working occasional shifts, but some colleague who found out that she has TB avoided her, but she feels strong enough to work and has stayed on despite feeling ostracised. She is hoping that once she has fully recovered she will be able to work full-time again.
‘Kavitha has been like a gift from god to me,’ she says, ‘because she has saved my life.’ I only wish I had met her sooner, because I think that if I had known about TB when my husband fell ill, he would still be here with me today.’
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