Ibrar Hussain is a 26-year-old brick kiln worker fighting against not only poverty, but also tuberculosis for the past six years.
For some time, he ignored his disease and was even unaware of free treatment options. He chose to throw himself headlong into work to support his family instead of visiting the hospital.
“I knew I was suffering from pulmonary TB but I didn’t visit the hospital because I thought the treatment would be costly.
“When I learnt that TB is a curable disease and its treatment is free, it gave me a ray of hope and allowed me to continue living my life,” he told The Express Tribune.
He recounted his story of rushing to the diagnostic centre and testing TB positive. He added that he caught TB due to his job in brick kilning.
Squatting in the brick kiln, the exhausted Ibrar said, “My job is very tough and exhausting. I work from dawn to dusk in both sweltering and freezing weather and earn Rs300 per day.”
“I am very disturbed by my disease,” he said, adding that often due to bouts of weakness he does not come in to work for days. “When I do not come in to work, I get nothing,” he added. Losing out on what little he makes every day makes life exponentially harder for Ibrar.
For Ibrar, and patients like him, there are a number of treatment centres to be found. In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 220 diagnostic centres and 806 treatment centres for TB are currently operational, providing free treatment to the needy.
Provincial TB Control Program Co-coordinator, Dr Muhammad Dost Khan said that that more females fall prey to tuberculosis compared to their male counterparts due to lack of immunity.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2012.
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