Close to death

Ramulu was 35 years old when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He was coughing heavily and vomiting blood, two common symptoms of TB. His weight was dangerously low and he became very weak.

Ramulu is an auto-rickshaw driver. Driving in the crowded, heavily polluted streets of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, his health quickly worsened.

Earning no more than £6 a day, he was worried he would need expensive treatment for his illness, so avoided visiting a health clinic.

When it was almost too late, he finally visited the hospital where he was immediately put on a six month course of antibiotics and referred to Lepra for extra support.

We counselled him and made sure he stuck with his treatment. When people do not complete their course of medication they have a higher risk of developing the more deadly multidrug-resistant TB, which is far more difficult and expensive to treat.

Thanks to our support, Ramulu finished his treatment and was completely cured of TB.

The next chapter

Ramulu’s story doesn’t end there. After his treatment, he wanted to pass on the vital support that he had received, and help others who were in the same desperate position that he had been in. He worked closely with Lepra and eventually trained to be a community health volunteer.

Now, 6 years later, he supports others who have been diagnosed with the disease by encouraging them to come forward for treatment. He visits their homes regularly, counselling the patients and their family members, urging them to continue their medication until they are cured.

Helping others

Whenever he gets some time off from driving his auto-rickshaw, he visits the patients. He has referred over 150 patients to the Lepra clinic; most have been cured and some are still undergoing treatment. He is trusted in the community because he has been cured of the disease himself.

With a recent global resurgence of multidrug-resistant TB, community volunteers like Ramulu are essential to ensure people get diagnosed early and complete their treatment.

How can you help?

We train thousands of community health volunteers like Ramulu. Just one volunteer can help up to 1,000 people in a community. It costs just £20 to train a community health volunteer, that's £20 to help 1,000 people. 

Train a healthworker