Meet the new TB ambassador for KNCV: Paulina Siniatkina

Today, on World TB Day, we would like to proudly announce that Paulina Siniatkina will become a TB ambassador for KNCV!

Paulina Siniatkina (1989) is a Russian artist who lives and works in Amsterdam. In 2015, she survived tuberculosis (TB) and decided to devote her art to fighting TB stigma. Paulina works with painting, installation, video art and performance. Through her experience and work, Paulina has also become a TB activist. She has addressed the UN General Assembly on Tuberculosis in the United States and has written the book ‘Tuberculosis and You’, that has been translated into 13 languages. Sitting in her studio in Amsterdam, Paulina tells how TB has shaped her art, her work as activist and her life.

“The doctor told me: ‘You have TB but don’t tell anyone’”

“I studied at the Russian Academy of Art. It was a very strict institution. After I graduated, I got a bit lost. I had no idea how to really use what I had learned. I knew I could make pretty paintings, but didn’t quite understood the depth of what you can do with it.”

Low immune system

“At the time I was married, I was very young and it wasn’t a good marriage. In 2013 I divorced but I still had a lot of post-traumatic stress from the experience. I think that was why my immune system was low. By the end of 2014, I was coughing a lot, losing weight and feeling ill. I went to several doctors but didn’t receive a proper diagnosis. I did have the classic combination of TB symptoms: night sweat, fatigue, loss of appetite and coughing. But I wasn’t eating that much at the time, so not surprised that I lost weight. I was coughing, but was also a smoker at that time. I had night sweats but my temperature stayed around max 37.5 degrees.”

“The doctor had given antibiotics but they did nothing. I was getting so tired of feeling ill, that I even stopped believing in the medical system. I went to see some type of witch doctor who had given me powders to dissolve. Of course that didn’t help either, but I was just getting so desperate.” Read more

KNCV has been fighting TB since its establishment in 1903. Over the past 120 years, the organization has acquired indispensable knowledge and experience in the field of effective TB prevention and care, resulting in pre-elimination in the Netherlands and significant contributions to global evidence generation, policy development and TB program implementation worldwide.

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