Champions & Advocates
TBAI believes in the power of community members to effect change. Therefore it has worked extensively with cured TB patients, key opinion leaders and other influencers within communities to build their capacities to advocate actively for TB elimination. Some successes are showcased below.
“CHW counseling services were helpful for me as I recovered more easily because of the advice and support I got. I learned I had to eat regularly and even after I have completed my treatment I have support available to me. I know the importance of nutrition and regular treatment.”
– Yasmeen Sulthan, Malakpet TU.
“THALI services are very important to high-risk patients because they have no proper support and knowledge on treatment. Counselling from community health workers (CHW) and followups helped me to complete my treatment. I am in touch with the CHW even after completion of my treatment for any small health problems. It is a relief.”
– Pullamma (50), Malakpet TU.
“Jungapalli Pushpalatha (28) lives with her two children aged 6 and 7, in Karimnagar. She works as a sweeper in a private school hostel. Pushpalatha visited Thirupathi, the Rural Healthcare Provider (RHCP) for help as she was suffering from a persistent fever and cough for over a month. Thirupathi screened her and suggested a TB test. Fearing stigma she avoided going to the facility and bought herself some medication from the local pharmacy, which gave her symptomatic relief. The FC tracked her through the mobile app, reached out to Pushpalatha, and after counseling, convinced her to get tested. Pushpalatha was diagnosed clinically (chest X-ray) and confirmed biologically (CBNAAT) the next day. Giving due consideration to her weakened condition, the FC and provider did home visits and found she was skipping doses owing to weakness and lack of nutrition. The FC mobilized resources from local donors for extra nutrition for her and this helped Pushpalatha complete her treatment and resume a normal life.”
K. Nageshwar Rao, Kothapet TU, Vijayawada
“I was scared and my family was depressed after I was diagnosed with TB and I hesitated to attend patient support group (PSG) meetings. After counselling by THALI staff, I attended a meeting in Kothapet TU. As I listened to the conversations between patients and the Senior Treatment Supervisor, Medical Officer and THALI staff confidence came into me because I knew that if I wanted support it would be available to me as well. These meetings encouraged and guided me to complete the treatment successfully and I also started sharing my thoughts. Later, I was asked by TB Alert India and the Government TB programme staff to participate in PSG meetings and build the morale of other TB patients by sharing my experiences. I visited patient’s houses and counselled them and their family members on stigma, treatment adherence and nutrition. During the lockdown period because of COVID 19, I served TB medication to two patients and followed up through treatment adherence and they have completed their treatment successfully.”
Nagamani, Bhagat Singh Nagar, Vijayawada
“Our association consists of 400 registered masons. Azmath, the community health worker from THALI met me and explained the THALI programme. We were hesitant at first thinking it was a waste of time, but the THALI team participates in monthly meeting to educate us about TB. We allowed them to attend and understood that since our workers consume alcohol and tobacco, and may suffer from malnutrition, we are all at risk of getting TB and spreading it to other members.
We decided to work with TB Alert India to screen our members and work towards their recovery if they were found to have TB. Because many of them suffered from regular fever and cough, we encouraged THALI to educate them on the symptoms of TB and the importance of testing. We opened a Health Information Centre (HIC) in our premises. We were given a weighing machine, posters on TB, and referral forms to note down the details of persons with symptoms.
I also counselled a few TB patients in the association and in my area about quitting alcohol, eating proper food, maintaining hygiene and taking medicines regularly. We have referred 48 persons with symptoms, 9 of whom were diagnosed with TB and who have now successfully completed treatment. The President of the association and I were felicitated by district TB officials. I was also invited to share my views at the World Lung Health Conference held in Hyderabad in 2019.”
Sri Ramula Suresh, Thapi Mesthri Association, Warangal Urban District, Telangana