Journey of a TB survivor from pain to strength

Shobha Shukla, Kalpana Acharya
Immortal words of Leonard Cohen, “there is a crack in everything, that is how A person standing in front of a computer screen
Description automatically generatedthe light gets in,” best sum up the transformative journey from pain to strength of Binika Shrestha, a native of Hetauda in Nepal. Binika shared the travails of the long path she trod- from being diagnosed with TB, going through the TB treatment, fighting the side effects of medicines as well as the haunting and daunting stigma, to eventually getting cured, and then, a few years later becoming a district TB officer herself.
It is noteworthy to mention that Binika had also addressed the world leaders at the 2023 United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on TB and called upon them to make TB programmes more people-centered and inclusive. Currently she is on her way to complete her postgraduate degree course of Public Health in Nepal.
The rollercoaster ride
“I had just begun my Bachelor of Public Health degree course at the age of 18. But the excitement of new beginnings lasted for just over a month when symptoms of TB cast their shadow. TB is a social disease and is heavily stigmatized in countries like Nepal. I hoped against hope that my symptoms were not related to TB but to some other health issue. However, diagnosis in healthcare institutions confirmed TB. Then I was put on TB treatment,” shared Binika.
Binika was speaking in End TB Dialogues, #90for90 #GlobalVoices series with Kalpana Acharya, former President of Nepal Health Journalists Forum and Shobha Shukla, Managing Editor of CNS.
She added: “Barely a week into the anti-TB therapy, severe side effects began affecting me. My face swelled so much that it looked like a water-filled balloon. My joints throbbed with pain, affecting my mobility.
(To be contd)