Tuberculosis (TB) is preventable and curable.

According to WHO (World Health Organisation) each day nearly 4 500 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30 000 fall ill. Yet TB is both preventable and curable and since the year 2000, an estimated 54 million lives have been saved due to diagnosis and treatment.

What are some of the symptoms of TB?
– Sputum with blood
– Chest pains
– Weakness
– Fatigue
– Weight loss
– Night sweats

Because TB is spread from person to person through close contact or a simple cough or sneeze, ANYBODY can become infected. If you experience any of the above symptoms, please visit your GP or community clinic to be tested.

If you are diagnosed with TB, please commit to treatment and accept the love and support of your friends, family and community. There is no stigma attached to TB – anybody can become infected. If you or a loved one are currently being treated, we have included a story from a TB survivor to fill you with hope.

Ingrid, South Africa
I am Ingrid and I had pre-extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (pre-XDR-TB), a form of TB caused by bacteria that are resistant to some of the most effective anti-TB drugs. After two years on TB treatment (including an injectable drug) I was cured.

Miracle. I live in South Africa and I was working as a dietitian in the public sector when I got sick. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis – a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract – and I was treated with drugs to suppress my immune system and decrease the inflammation in my gut. Shortly thereafter I was diagnosed with pre-XDR-TB. I was hospitalised for 75 days. During this time, I developed liver failure and nearly died. I woke up from the coma and the doctor said it was a miracle. The doctor and the nursing staff who treated me in hospital were very kind and I was fortunate to have loving family and friends who encouraged me.

Humbled and enriched. I remained weak when I left hospital and was struggling to cope with the injection and the pills that caused diarrhoea and vomiting. I found it hard to not have my freedom or the abilities I used to have, and felt very vulnerable and overwhelmed, like a massive wave had crashed over me. It made me think, “how do the poor and marginalised get through this?” I could not imagine doing this alone, without support from loved ones.

Excited about life After leaving hospital I started working as an assistant to an inspiring academic who ignited in me a passion for research. I was blessed with lots of love and care from my family and friends and started exercising again. It felt like I was getting a new start; it felt good to enjoy things again and be excited about life!

I was declared cured in 2014. After having TB I now appreciate being healthy much more! TB changed my life; it has humbled as well as enriched me as a person, teaching me how much we have to be thankful for.

I feel I can now relate to the suffering of so many in South Africa who have TB and hope more will be done to not just treat the disease, but treat the person – providing nutritional, economical, practical and emotional support. I believe that could give people with TB the hope they need!

Spreading the word. I am now part of TB Proof, an organisation that advocates for improved detection and treatment of TB, as well as breaking down the stigma attached to having TB. Our team is passionate about improving the outcomes for all patients with TB.

To be inspired by more TB survivor stories and the importance of being treated, visit this link. https://www.who.int/features/2017/personal-tb-stories/en/

References:
https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2019/03/24/default-calendar/world-tb-day-2019
https://www.who.int/features/2017/personal-tb-stories/en/
https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/tuberculosis/tuberculosis-symptoms.html

 

While all reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this article, information may change or become dated, as new developments occur. The Link group shall not be held liable or accountable for the accuracy, completeness or correctness of any information for any purpose.