Journey of a TB survivor from pain to strength

Shobha Shukla, Kalpana Acharya
Contd from previous issue
Verbal screening for TB symptoms is not enough to find all TB in high burden settings
In Nepal, the National TB prevalence survey 2018-2019 had found that over 70% of people with TB were asymptomatic – and would have been missed if X-ray was not used to screen them for presumptive TB (and was followed by molecular test to confirm TB disease). India’s National TB prevalence survey 2019-2021 had shown that almost half of the TB patients would have been missed if X-ray was not used as a screening tool.
Bringing TB screening and testing facilities to the communities will be very beneficial–it will also reduce the cost people incur in traveling to big cities and reduce delay in diagnosis. “Mobile health clinics can go closer to the people and communities with TB screening, diagnosis and treatment services instead of centralized TB services in big cities waiting for the people to come to them. We should also add a component of TB screening and diagnosis in maternal and child healthcare services across Nepal,” hopes Binika.
Public private partnerships could also help reach the unreached people and communities with full spectrum of TB services. Private healthcare providers must notify TB cases to the government so that we know the epidemic. We should also leverage the use of digital technologies.
Affected communities must remain central to TB responses “I urge the Govt to include the people who have survived TB because they have the firsthand experience of it, they know where the problem or barrier is. We need to bridge the gap between ‘felt need’ and real need of the people,” said Binika Shrestha.
It was long after finishing her TB treatment that Binika gathered courage to disclose her experience and to contribute actively towards ending TB. “It took immense courage for me to openly acknowledge my past battle with this disease. The journey from pain to strength has been a profound and transformative experience for me. I am determined to advocate for the inclusion of TB survivors' voices at the decision-making level.
I firmly believe that their perspectives and experiences are invaluable in shaping policies and strategies to combat TB effec- tively. By working towards inclusiveness, I aspire to create a society where TB survivors are not only heard but also actively involved in shaping a healthier future for all.”

(Shobha Shukla is the Managing Editor of CNS (Citizen News Service), Kalpana Acharya is Editor-in-Chief of Health TV Online Nepal, and both are Board members of Global AMR Media Alliance (GAMA) and Asia Pacific Media Alliance for Health and Development (APCAT Media). Follow them on Twitter: @Shobha1Shukla, @KalpanaAcharya1)