TB Alert’s campaigning success in Andhra Pradesh, India, is helping keep children like Aisha healthy and free of TB.
Aisha’s mother Susheela grew up in poverty, and had to leave school as a child to take care of her younger sisters. Susheela left home when she married, but her husband died when Aisha was just two years old. Facing destitution, the family moved back with Susheela’s parents, who could barely make ends meet themselves.
TB is a disease of poverty and Susheela is now suffering from TB for she felt ashamed to tell anyone about her illness due to stigma. But a local community health worker trained by TB Alert’s project TB Advocacy Programme (TAP) is supporting her through her treatment, and Susheela now talks openly about her TB.
To prevent Aisha from catching TB from hermother, she is being given a form of preventive treatment. Because a good diet and strong immune system are key to the treatment’s success, workers from TAP had campaigned at state level for children receiving such treatment to be given a double ration of the nutritional supplement provided to all children under six.
The ‘double ration’ was approved by the state government in 2012 – meaning that now twice a week Susheela receives plenty of rice, dhal, oil and eggs to help keep Aisha well.
“In our economic situation, we wouldn’t have been able to give her this much food to cope with her medicine. This has made her healthier and more energetic,” says a smiling Susheela.