Charles

Charles was so ill he couldn't work and without an income started to fall in debt.

“My name is Charles. Three months ago, I contracted tuberculosis (TB). I had chest pains, a bad cough, a fever, and night sweats. For two months I underwent various tests, including microscopy TB tests using my sputum, and standard tests for other diseases like HIV, but to no avail. The results were negative and the clinic could not find out what was wrong.

My condition worsened and I became weak because I had stopped eating. Things got really serious when I had to stop my work as a hairdresser. I have a family to feed and school fees to pay. It was a vicious circle. I had to close my salon because I couldn’t pay rent, but then I lost all my clients and to pay for things I got into debt. Thank fully my relatives helped my family.

Eventually, after more tests, I was called by the clinic who told me that APOPO, who use rats to recheck patient samples, had tested me TB-positive. The rats firstly smell TB in sputum samples and APOPO then confirms that TB is indeed present in their standard TB laboratory.

I am now on treatment and feeling better but now I have an uphill struggle. I have to start getting clients from scratch and I still owe money. I wish my illness had been identified earlier!”