Abdul struggled with his disease not knowing what was making him ill, until APOPO found he had TB.
“I became very ill a few months ago. I developed a bad cough and fevers, and I lost my appetite. After a month, I went to get tested at the clinic and the doctors suspected tuberculosis (TB). I had an x-ray which was inconclusive, so I was asked to provide a sputum sample which was then used for a test using smear microscopy. But those results were also negative. In fact, all the other tests that came back did not show why I was sick.
At home, I told my friends and neighbours. I was scared to do this but I was even more frightened of how ill I was becoming and I wanted help. Most of them were very good. They helped me with money and food supplies, and they weren’t scared to be around me to make me comfortable. Many of us have seen or heard TV and radio adverts or newspaper articles about TB and we know a bit about it.
Eventually the clinic called me to tell me that rats had discovered that I had TB from smelling my sputum sample. I told them I didn’t believe them because rats are bad, stupid animals. But they insisted and told me after the rats smell TB in the sample, it is then confirmed in a lab that uses quality equipment and technicians.
I am now on treatment and feeling much better already. I am watching my friends and family for symptoms as I might have passed my TB to them, but so far so good. If they show any I will tell them to get tested straight away, and maybe even ask for rats to help again!”