Strong enough to once again climb a hill

In Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state in South India, partnerships between local NGO’s and KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation are having an impact on the daily lives of TB patients. Every other day, seventy year old Mr. Venkaya enjoys coming for his TB treatment at the EQUIP center in the Chennai Rotary Club Meeting Center. He started his TB treatment a couple of weeks ago with Joseph, DOT coordinator for REACH, a local NGO. REACH, with technical support of KNCV, started the public private collaboration project in Chennai City, Southern India.

Just a few minutes’ walk from his house, the center is a nicely ventilated space where he can come in the morning. Treatment with Joseph is going well, he trusts him and they can speak his native Telugu, a language spoken in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

He says about Mr. Joseph: “I am feeling good again, and can once again climb a hill! I am so grateful for this treatment, even if he would ask me to take fifty tablets a day I would take them. Now I feel like I am thirty again! I come here every other day and am often the first one to arrive when he opens the door, and the last one to leave when he closes up in the afternoon”.

Mr. Venkaya usually goes to his private doctor when he has health complaints, but this time he had a cough which was not passing, so his doctor referred him to a chest physician in the neighborhood. The chest physician, a member of the EQUIP network, sent him for sputum collection at the nearest High Tec private lab to get his ‘Xpert’ test done, which turned out to be positive. He is working as a stonecutter in the construction business which does not earn a big salary, so he was happy with the option to get free testing and medicines, but above all, Joseph’s good care!
REACH, the local NGO that Joseph works for, last year started the ‘EQUIP’ public private collaboration project funded by Lilly Foundation with technical support from KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation. EQUIP is an interface mechanism between the RNTCP and a network of private providers, including chest physicians and general practitioners, which initiated activities in October 2015 in Chennai.


A United Way Worldwide grant made possible by Eli Lilly and Company Foundation (Lilly Foundation)

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