Dil Bahadur Rai, 50, lives in Ithari Municipality-2 (Budhasubba chowk) in Sunsari district, E Nepal. He lives with his wife in a house built from mud and bamboo. He collects firewood for a living from the nearby forest and sells it at the local market. He walks more than ten kilometres a day. Together with his wife they earn 5,000 to 7,000 rupees a month and are barely able to cover their cost of living.
Recently Dil Bahadur Rai was visited at home by a volunteer from the TB Reach Project (TBRP). He had been contact with a member of his family who had been diagnosed with active, pulmonary TB. Whilst this relative had been visiting the DOTS centre Dil Bahadur Rai had been listed as a close smyptomatic contact.
Dil Bahadur Rai disclosed the symptoms of TB he had been suffering to the TBRP volunteer. He was counselled and educated about TB; its symptoms, risks, treatment and the availability of free services from the nearest health institution.
“I had been suffering from a persistent and prolonged cough, having chest pain and sometimes fever. Due to this I am facing difficulty doing any labour.”
On the basis of this information the volunteer urged him to provide a sputum sample, leaving sputum pots with him for two further samples. The sputum samples were taken by the volunteers to the nearest microscopy centre for processing. The sputum result was positive.
When Dil Bhadur Rai was advised that his sputum samples had tested positve for TB he was shocked;
“I was depressed and thought ‘How did I end up with this disease?’. The project staff and volunteers together provided detailed information that TB is curable if the treatment is done on a regular basis in the DOTS centre, and that is free of cost. My depression improved.”
Dil Bahadur Rai was immediately enrolled for treatment at the nearby Ithari PHC and taking medicine from the Urban DOTS Sub Centre at Ithari-3.
“I can move and start to do my work thanks to the treatment and your help.”
Dil Bahadur Rai has also expressed his commitment to encouraging others in his community to seek TB testing and treatment.