Meet Lulu: Surviving TB and creating a legacy
A few years ago, Lulu was very ill . After being diagnosed with TB, she was put on treatment and recovered. She decided to join Mkuta, an organisation composed of former TB patients that supports local health centers in TB-sensitization and patients-tracking.
How did you find out you had TB?
It was a long and frustrating procedure. I visited different hospitals, underwent all kind of tests but they all came out negative and the doctors couldn't tell me what the problem was. I was only diagnosed with tuberculosis when I was already in a very bad shape.
How did the disease affect your life?
Having TB did not only have a devastating impact on my life but also on my family. I was feeling very weak, had a high fever, a bad cough and I lost appetite completely. For weeks I wasn't able to work and take care of my family.
But you recovered...
Yes! Fortunately my sputum sample was sent to Morogoro where the APOPO HeroRATs detected TB. I was then able to start treatment and slowly recovered from the disease.
Lulu talking to patients in a hospital
Why did you decide to join Mkuta?
I wanted to help people to get diagnosed and treated for TB in a timely matter. It was so frustrating and frightening to be so sick, and to get sicker every day, while nobody was able to help. I know that the HeroRATs can help to detect TB, even if a technician with a microscope can't find the disease, so I convince people to go get tested and I follow-up on them during their treatment.
I also realized many people have a very poor understanding of the disease. They don't really know how you get it, how you recognise it and how you can treat it. Many think you can't be treated at all so they wait too long or fail going to the hospital for a test. As a former TB patient, I can speak out of experience and people listen to my story.
How did you feel about rats helping to diagnose people with TB?
At first I couldn't believe it. Rats? I didn't understand how APOPO was working with them. But then somebody of APOPO explained to me that the rats use their very strong sense of smell to sniff out TB in sputum samples. The rats are trained to pause over a sample if they smell the disease. They are so clever and they are helping many people to get their lives back, no wonder they are called HeroRATs!
Lulu handing out information about TB
You can support Lulu in raising awareness of TB and saving more lives. Thank you!