One reason for this shroud of silence around TB is the stigma. We hope to address it.

From survivors to champions A REACH-TNM campaign to create awareness about TB
Features TB Champions Tuesday, October 03, 2017 - 12:34

There were 32 people seated in a circle, on chairs hastily pulled together, in the middle of a large room. There was absolute silence when Arun began telling his story - the story of how tuberculosis (TB) had affected his life.

Seven years ago, Arun had lost his father to TB. A delayed diagnosis and poor management had resulted in a death from what is a fully curable disease. Five years later, Arun was diagnosed with TB, much to the distress and anxiety of his family.

REACH and TNM bring you powerful narratives of TB survivors.

Seven years ago, Arun had lost his father to TB. A delayed diagnosis and poor management had resulted in a death from what is a fully curable disease. Less than two years later, Arun was diagnosed with TB, much to the distress and anxiety of his family. In this video series, REACH and TNM bring you powerful narratives of TB survivors. Watch and share, and follow #TBChampions. Read More: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/survivors-champions-reach-tnm-campaign-create-awareness-about-tb-69357

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Tuesday, 3 October 2017

It was Mona’s turn next. She spoke of how she’d lost her husband to TB. And then her son. Of how she’d been diagnosed and treated for TB several times. Of how she had not given up hope. Of how she hoped to inspire and motivate others whose lives had also been devastated by the disease.

Mildred from the Philippines spoke of her decade-long battle with multi-drug resistant TB. She was 18 when she was diagnosed with TB and 28 when finally declared cured. Mildred told us about how she almost gave up hope several times. She spoke of how she’d met her husband, John, while being treated for TB, the emotional support he had offered and the love story that followed.

 
#TBChampion Mildred contracted the illness when she was in col...

#TBChampion Mildred was diagnosed with TB when she was in college. Not only did she find treatment, she also found love in the process. This is John and Midred's story, the eighth video in the REACH -TNM Campaign. Read more: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/survivors-champions-reach-tnm-campaign-create-awareness-about-tb-69357

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Arun, Mona and Mildred were among a group of thirty-two TB survivors from six countries around South-East Asia, who gathered in New Delhi earlier this year for a workshop organised by REACH in partnership with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Geneva-based Stop TB Partnership. The workshop was designed to support TB survivors to become more effective advocates and to encourage them to examine their personal experiences within the global, regional and national public health contexts.

Watch #TBChampion Tilak's story. The second video in the REACH...

"One day, I had a very bad cough. When I went to the bathroom to spit, so much blood came out with the cough..." Watch #TBChampion Tilak's story. The second video in the REACH -TNM Campaign. Read More: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/survivors-champions-reach-tnm-campaign-create-awareness-about-tb-69357

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Thursday, 5 October 2017

In India, over 1300 people die of TB every day. India bears the world’s highest burden of TB, with approximately a quarter of all TB cases in the world. In 2015, close to five lakh people died of TB in India and every year, an estimated 1.3 lakh people are affected by drug-resistant TB (TB India Report 2017). The numbers are staggering.

Watch #TBChampion Farida's story. The third video in the REACH...

Farida Ari Kusuma was tested positive for TB when she was in school. "My lungs may have been scarred, but I have become a stronger person after I got cured." Watch #TBChampion Farida's story. The third video in the REACH -TNM Campaign. Read more: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/survivors-champions-reach-tnm-campaign-create-awareness-about-tb-69357

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Monday, 9 October 2017

But despite the enormity and scale of the problem, TB rarely finds mention in public discourse. We do not hear or read about TB in the news as often as we should, and few of us know the extent of the impact TB has. I’m often been asked by well-informed friends and family – “you work on TB? But isn’t it eradicated from India?”

Watch #TBChampion Cherry Ramos Florida's story. The fourth vid...

"People label me as joyful, as if I can overcome everything. But when I was hit with MDR-TB, that was the time I realised that I am nothing..." Watch #TBChampion Cherry Ramos Florida's story. The fourth video in the REACH -TNM Campaign. Read More: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/survivors-champions-reach-tnm-campaign-create-awareness-about-tb-69357

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Thursday, 12 October 2017

One reason for this shroud of silence around TB is the stigma, of course. Stigma is all pervasive, whether at home, at work or in the community. Stigma can and does cause people affected by TB to lose jobs, be thrown out of their homes (especially if they are women) or be isolated within their families. Most of all, stigma prevents people like Arun, Mona and Mildred from boldly and opening telling their stories.

'I had TB from 2008 to 2015. I was very depressed and very low...

'I had TB from 2008 to 2015. I was very depressed and very low at that time...' Listen to #TBChampion Amrita Limbu's story. Watch #TBChampion Amrita's story. The fifth video in the REACH -TNM Campaign. Read more: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/survivors-champions-reach-tnm-campaign-create-awareness-about-tb-69357

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Public health needs heroes. We need people like Arun, Mona and Mildred – and many others –  to be part of and lead the conversation around TB. Their struggles must inspire others. Their stories must inform our policies. As TB Champions, through their stories and testimonials, they can increase the visibility of TB, help improve our understanding of the disease and help destigmatize the TB experience.

A TB survivor twice in his lifetime, listen to Mark Agana, #TB...

A TB survivor twice in his lifetime, listen to Mark Agana, #TBChampion from Phillipines. Watch #TBChampion Mark's story. The sixth video in the REACH -TNM Campaign. Read More: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/survivors-champions-reach-tnm-campaign-create-awareness-about-tb-69357

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Thursday, 19 October 2017

Watch #TBChampion Alma's story. The seventh video in the REACH...

"I was given very high dosage of TB medicine. That made me infertile, and I couldn't have children. TB has affected my whole life." Watch #TBChampion Alma Ram's story. Watch #TBChampion Alma's story. The seventh video in the REACH -TNM Campaign. Read More: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/survivors-champions-reach-tnm-campaign-create-awareness-about-tb-69357

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Saturday, 21 October 2017

At the workshop held in April earlier this year, we focused on how each TB survivor could become a powerful advocate for TB, in his or her own way, by focusing on whatever aspect of the TB response was most important to them. For some, getting an early and accurate diagnosis was priority. Some others saw the lack of access to counseling and information on TB during the treatment period as the real gap. For others, it was the need for proper nutrition or support from their families.

Watch #TBChampion Paran talk about her fight for proper health...

"I was really mad with the doctor. I would think, why are you doing this to me? You are the doctor. You have to know the best treatment for your patient." Watch #TBChampion Paran talk about her fight for proper healthcare in the ninth video from the REACH -TNM Campaign. Read more: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/survivors-champions-reach-tnm-campaign-create-awareness-about-tb-69357

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Thursday, 26 October 2017

Storytelling was also an important part of the workshop. We talked about how important it is to tell personal stories in an impactful manner, in a way that would hook readers and viewers. Over the four days of the workshop, the TB Champions were generous in sharing their own stories and took time to record short video testimonials.

"Although I was educated and based in an urban area, my knowle...

"Although I was educated and based in an urban area, my knowledge about tuberculosis was very poor, and there was a lot of stigma around this disease." #TBChampion Dr Gopakumar struggled with doctors who tried to cheat him, listen to him on what he believes states should do now to tackle tuberculosis in the tenth video from the REACH -TNM Campaign. Read more: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/survivors-champions-reach-tnm-campaign-create-awareness-about-tb-69357

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Friday, 27 October 2017

It is this video series that we are proud to present and share with you, through our partnership with The News Minute. 

Listen to #TBChampion Amogh's story of hope in the final video...

"After all this, I realised I've collected so many good people in my phonebook." Listen to #TBChampion Amogh's story of hope in the final video from the REACH -TNM Campaign. Read more: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/survivors-champions-reach-tnm-campaign-create-awareness-about-tb-69357

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Sunday, 29 October 2017

We do hope you will watch and share these powerful and personal narratives, and join the fight against TB in India.

Anupama Srinivasan works with REACH, a Chennai-based non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against TB for the last two decades.

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