Suffering from TB and forced out of home to live in little more than a square box, Ruhul’s life, in his words, was “falling apart”. Here was his corrugated iron prison and he was on TB’s death row.

Catching TB

Before I had TB my life was fine. I was a tailor and was married with a loving wife and daughter. I used to earn 2,500 taka (£22) per month, which was a good wage for this area.

Then I caught TB. I was so weak that I couldn’t do my job anymore. I had untreated TB for six months. It felt like a fever and I coughed often, especially in the mornings and at night. It was hard to sleep.

My brother took me to the local health clinic and a Lepra health worker diagnosed my condition. It was once I began treatment that I was thrown out of my home by my family.

Forced to leave

The community forced me to live in a small shed opposite. At this point I weighed just five-and-a-half stone and was in poor health. I thought I was dying.

If Lepra had not helped me in time I would have been dead in a matter of weeks. Villagers made me live and sleep on the floor of a four foot square metal box that I was forced to call home.
Ruhul needed someone to support him to take his medicine correctly. Lepra trained his cousin Saddam to dispense the vital medication to him.
The social problems worsened. My wife and child left me and have not returned. I have no money to support them.

When Lepra saw my isolation and the stigma that the TB was causing, they visited the village and taught people about the disease. This changed everything.

Back on course

I have finished my multi-drug treatment and live back in my old house. My life is back on course and I have gained weight. I have hope, but there is still a long way to go until I am strong and healthy.