Leila got too sick to go to school and spread her disease to her brother and sister before APOPO diagnosed her with tuberculosis.

My name is Leila and I’m 13 years old. I live in the Tandale area in Dar es Salaam with my grandparents, and younger brothers and sisters. Our small house has three rooms, and I share a bedroom with my three siblings.

Last year, I had a severe headache and high fever. I found it extremely tiring to go to school and had problems concentrating in class. After some time, I also developed a cough. I was too weak to attend school, and so I had to stay at home for over a month.

My grandmother took me to the hospital, where I had to cough up sputum for a TB test. I found it a bit difficult to provide the sample, but luckily, a kind lady from an organization called MKUTA (APOPO’s partner) was there to assist me. The hospital informed us that the test result was negative. My grandparents were very worried because I was extremely weak but could not be treated. Meanwhile, two of my siblings also fell ill.

Then, the lady from MKUTA called my grandmother and told her that my sample had been re-tested by rats at APOPO and found to be positive for tuberculosis. She also explained that APOPO's lab confirmed the rat findings with microscopy and then alerted the hospital. We were relieved because the problem had been identified and treatment could begin. At first, my grandmother didn’t believe that rats had detected the disease in my sample but these amazing animals also helped in diagnosing my brother and sister!  

Thanks to APOPO and the HeroRATs, we are all feeling better now.

It is often the poorest who are affected by tuberculosis. You can create real and lasting change in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.