12 year old Annie has stars in her eyes. She wants to be a nurse and help people. She’s bright and happy now, a star student, a loving child standing on the brink of teen-hood and discovery.
But this was not always so. 3 years back, Annie developed a hacking cough, which very soon metamorphosed into a condition where every breath was painful and every step required a huge effort. Her body wasted away. She became pitifully thin. She was unable to eat, and could barely able to swallow a few teaspoonfuls of gruel every day.
Someone in the neighborhood connected her to Operation ASHA’s health workers. Immediately, our machinery swung into action. Annie was diagnosed with MDR TB, a form of Tuberculosis where conventional drugs don’t act. She was put on second line drugs, which included daily painful injections for 180 days. Annie’s mother, Mariam, displayed exemplary courage in these difficult days. She did not lose hope. And all the time, our field workers were there for Annie and her family, to provide love and support, to guide them thru difficult times, and to take care of the million problems that would come up as a side effect of the medication.
Treatment lasted for full 2 years and there were many setbacks, but today Annie stands tall. She has a brave smile on her face. And she has taken her decision. She will study hard and go thru nursing college, so she can help others in turn.
And this is why I am able to work. My life hasn’t been easy either. Like all others in the world, I’ve had health issues, financial troubles, and personal challenges. Its patients like Annie who keep me going. For a physician, the happiest moment is when a patient recovers. That’s all that matters. And that’s what keeps me going.
There are millions of Annie’s in this world. Thousands are not diagnosed. Thousands face discrimination. Children are neglected, left to suffer, to die, if they have Tuberculosis. Children lose their childhood because of TB. But Annie’s story gives us hope.
With your support, we can do so much more for them, and give them health and happiness and a chance to pursue their dreams.
This quarter Operation ASHA raised $301.