Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Congratulations to Reeta!

Today was a great day for Reeta, as she was given a clean bill of health from the tuberculosis center! We met Reeta in January 2008; she was a young, destitute woman with no family. She came to us on the street, gravely ill---feet swollen, barely able to walk, and unable to keep anything down for days.

Our volunteers at the time, Jan and Maike, helped admit Reeta to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with tuberculosis---not pulmonary, but it had spread to her abdomen and heart.

We later learned that this was Reeta's third try at TB treatment. TB is easily cured but to do so, one must take the medicines consistently for at least six months. Being a destitute, Reeta had no home base and complying with treatment was nearly impossible for her. The government tuberculosis center, which distributes free TB medicine, allowed her into the program on the condition that we take responsibility for her treatment. After Reeta was discharged, we brought her to Karunya Mane, where we could be sure that she took her medicine properly---and stayed off the streets.

About a month after Reeta arrived at KM, we found her three-year-old daughter (who was taken in by hospital employees during Reeta's admission, who were reluctant to give her back and actually told the little one that her mom had died) and brought her to KM. Reeta and Sinchana have been with us since.

Now that she's healthy again, Reeta is thinking about continuing her education. She passed 10th grade a few years ago, but lost all of her documents after her husband left her and she became homeless. She is also learning how to sew during nightly lessons with Mary.

Operation Shanti's battle against TB:
Won: 6
Lost: 1
Lost (AIDS patients): 3