By Anupama K,#COVIDActionCollab
April 2, 2022
Asha*, a 25-year-old sex worker, has braved both COVID-19 and Tuberculosis (TB) in the last two years. She has been an HIV patient for the last four years. With the timely healthcare support provided by Kranti Mahila Sangh and Swasti, both partner organizations of the #COVIDActionCollab, she now leads a better life free of Tuberculosis (TB).
Hailing from Maharashtra’s Solapur, Asha lives in a rented house with her six-year-old child and mother. When the lockdown measures became stringent in 2020, she migrated to Gulbarga for work. Unfortunately, finding work became difficult there, and to make ends meet, she was forced to sell even her mobile phone. “During this period, she also developed symptoms of COVID-19. But the fear of living in isolation and separation from her child stopped her from going to a hospital for treatment,” said Renuka, who works as a Program Manager with Kranti Mahila Sangh.
Asha also missed her treatment for HIV, Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) due to avoidance of medical care. After moving back to Solapur, through Kranti Mahila Sangh, she underwent health check-ups and the necessary tests to resume treatment. “Two of our outreach workers accompanied Asha to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with Tuberculosis,” Renuka added.
As per the World Health Organisation, HIV and Tuberculosis form a fatal combination and people living with HIV are 18 times more susceptible to developing active TB.**
“The challenge then was to make sure that she completed the treatment because the medicines for TB have several side effects and many patients stop the treatment halfway. However, our team members assured Asha of constant support, which instilled a sense of confidence and hope in her to complete the treatment. Our team members also made regular follow-ups with her regarding the treatment and made sure that they met her once in a fortnight,” Renuka recollected.
Since she was unable to work as the treatment progressed, the team made arrangements for ration kits with the help of Swasti and made sure that the financial assistance reached her. Asha has since fully recovered from TB.
Her story highlights how the work of collaborative partnerships can have a positive impact on the lives of many individuals from vulnerable communities. The partner organizations of the #COVIDActionCollab work closely with these communities to ensure that everyone receives the care and support they deserve to build resilience amidst difficult times and beyond. Her story further tells us that with the right kind of support and enablement, it is possible for one to bounce forward from adversities every single time.
*Name has been changed to protect the individual’s identity
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COVIDActionCollab is not merely an aggregation of partners, but is an aggregation of capacities, through which we have developed key high impact initiatives. We have drawn upon our one year’s experience at CAC and engagement with our large constituency of partners to put together a menu of initiatives for funders/investors to support which will save lives and livelihoods, and enable vulnerable communities to 'bounce forward’. Support these initiatives to build resilient communities