In my first news of this village, I had highlighted the situation of tuberculosis (TB) in Ganga Jamuni village, situated around 110 KMs from the state capital of Uttar Pradesh. However, in this article I would like to share one more healthcare-threatening aspect that how women of this village are being trapped in TB and have no ray of hope on their face.
Many male patients have died due to TB after a long battle against this disease in their productive age in this village, and they were the main bread-winner in their family. Now their other family members especially their wives are suffering from this infectious and fatal disease.
The youngest TB patient in this village is 3 year old girl child, who is suffering from bone TB. Patients who are suffering from TB at present are; Ram Naresh and his wife, Ram Newas and his wife, Mangre (who suffered from TB for more than 10 years and now suffering from respiratory disease and other illness) and his wife, Nankau, Ram Gopal’s wife, Lallan’s wife, Satya Prakash’s wife (who died recently from TB).
“I have spent almost half of my life from TB I have no worry for me. However, I am worry for my children, grand children and my wife, if they will get trapped then who will save them. Only god will help us. I have no faith in doctors and government health centres i.e. DOTS centre, Primary Health Centre and district tuberculosis control office says, Mangre.” He further says that patient who goes to DOTS centre they charged Rs. 20/- to give medicine however, government provides these medicine free of cost to all TB patients.’
Most of the patients who are suffering from TB are belong to Schedule Caste and are under Below the Poverty Line. Poverty, illiteracy, contaminated water, malnutrition, unhygienic environment, population density, inadequate shelter, stagnant water in their homes, improper drainage facility are making the situation more worst for these patients. And due to this they are also suffering from other opportunistic infection.
Primary and District health care centres are not giving any attention for these women patients who are suffering from TB. Last year one sputum collection camp was organized by district tuberculosis office. However, since then no further follow -up process has been made. These women manage household work and also worked in fields to manage their family income.
‘I feel helpless and, I have no ray of hope with any one, earlier I was earning Rs. 40 to 50 per day however, since I get infected from TB, I am very weak and can’t work. My husband is also not earning enough to manage the expense of entire family. We are fighting for two square meals a day, in this situation how can I even think to go to Primary Health Care Centre to have medicines regularly which is around 10 KMs away from my home and cost Rs.10/- one side fare says, Lallan’ wife (who is just 28 years old).’
Tuberculosis for many years has been the leading infectious cause of death in women not only in India but also worldwide. The disease poses a major threat to women's health security. It is estimated that almost one-third of the world's population is infected with TB, and in developing countries it affects most women in their reproductive years. A WHO report says that ‘The fear and stigma associated with tuberculosis have a greater impact on women than on men, often leaving them in a more precarious social and economic position. Tuberculosis in women creates orphans, impoverished families and reduces the economic development of society’.
So lets save life of these women patients and give them healthy and prosperous life.
(The Author is a development journalist and public health advocate. Recently he visited this village to cover this story. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)