Book and video tell stories of TB in Thailand

Inspiring stories, both on paper and film, have recently been published to address the issue of tuberculosis (TB) in Thailand. The TB/HIV Research Foundation bundled the memories of volunteers working with people affected by TB in a book, and made a video to enhance treatment adherence among people living with TB. Read more.

In ‘Let me wipe your tears and touch your heart’ eight volunteers share their best practices and most inspiring experiences in caring for people with TB or with TB/HIV co-infection. These volunteers help people living with TB in coping with not only the physical suffering, but also the social, economic and psychological difficulties they face because of the disease. Many persons with TB and TB/HIV co-infection face depression, hopelessness, stigma and anxieties because of their disease.

In short chapters, the book reveals touching stories of the work of the volunteers, who themselves all had or are still living with TB, HIV or TB/HIV co-infection too. “It shows the important role of their volunteer work,” Saiyud Moolphate, project manager of the TB/HIV Research Foundation, at the 41st Union World Conference on Lung Health in Berlin, Germany (Nov 11-15).

“These volunteers might be poor in real life, but they are incredibly rich in their hearts,” she added. “They inspired many of the people who they took care of to become volunteers themselves too.” The book, published in both Thai and English, will be distributed at hospitals for free to ‘let people appreciated the volunteers’ work’.

The TB/HIV Research Foundation also released a new video for people with TB or TB/HIV and their family members. The twenty-eight minutes video focuses on increasing knowledge about TB, empowering people with TB and TB/HIV with the stories of survivors of the diseases, and building hope and will-power through messages from representatives of various religions.

By providing information and inspiration, the video aims to enhance treatment adherence.
Treatment of TB usually takes 6 to 9 months and many people find it hard to stick to the treatment. “Often people have to stay in an isolation room for some time. Depending on the situation this can vary from a few days to several weeks,” Moolphate explains in an interview with CNS. “There they stay alone, separated from everybody and everything. The video can help to give them power and hope to deal with the disease.”

Both the book and the video were produced in cooperation with The Research Institute of Tuberculosis, Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association (RIT/JATA) and sponsored by The Mitsubishi Foundation. Previously, the TB/HIV Research Foundation published similar books, such as one with the same title as the new video, in which stories and pictures of people with TB before and after treatment are printed.

Thailand is among the countries with the highest burden of TB in the world. According to recently released new data of the World Health Organization (WHO) there were around 130,000 TB cases and 12,000 TB deaths in Thailand in 2009.

Babs Verblackt - CNS
(The author is a freelance journalist, a Fellow of CNS Writers' Bureau and Associate Communications atTuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative – TBVI)

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Citizen News Service (CNS), India/Thailand
Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI) 
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