Abdulrahman feared for his pregnant wife when he fell ill and his local clinic couldn't tell him what he had.
My name is Abdulrahman Salum and I’m 25 years old. My wife and I have a little baby daughter who is three months old and we live close to Tandale market in Dar es Salaam. When my wife was at the end of her pregnancy, I started to feel ill. I had pain in my chest, sore joints and I began losing weight. I was also exhausted and I could no longer work. I am a mechanic and a truck driver, transporting heavy loads to neighbouring countries. It’s a dangerous job if you are not fit and alert.
I soon went to a clinic for a tuberculosis test. When the result was negative I didn’t know what to do. It was a very difficult time for my wife and I. She was nearing her due date and could no longer work, and I was unable to provide for my family and didn’t know how to get better. I was afraid her and our child might get sick as well so I moved away to my father’s house. While staying there I got a call from MKUTA, explaining that rats had detected tuberculosis in my sample and APOPO's lab technicians had confirmed it. Rats! I started treatment and improved immediately!
My colleagues also became nervous around me, as they thought they would get sick too and some even thought I was HIV positive. In Tanzania many people do not understand either TB or HIV. They think both are a death sentence and also that you can get HIV just by being in the same room as a sufferer. They won’t socialise with you and people often lose their job because of ignorance or discrimination. But you can recover completely from tuberculosis and live a full and normal life with HIV if you are on treatment and take care of yourself. I was ignorant too before, but MKUTA taught me all of this.
I am very grateful for all the efforts of APOPO and the HeroRATs. Without them, I might still have been sick and separated from my wife and daughter.