News

The Outcasts of Tuberculosis


11 Jul 2010
by Working Group

This story was published on NDTV.com http://origin-netmg.ndtv.com/article/india/the-outcasts-of-tb-tuberculosis-36625

It may be curable but Tuberculosis (TB) remains a stigma in our country especially for women. Over a lakh Indian women are thrown out of their homes each year because they have TB.

Mumbai: It may be curable but Tuberculosis (TB) remains a stigma in our country especially for women. Over a lakh Indian women are thrown out of their homes each year because they have TB.

NDTV brings you the story of a woman who was deserted by her husband one year after marriage because she was diagnosed with TB.

The 21-year-old woman’s only fault was that she was infected with tuberculosis.

“I had been married for a year. Three months after the wedding I started coughing and was admitted to a clinic. An X-Ray showed I had TB. My husband and his family insisted my mother take me home. After that my husband has not come to see me even once. When the doctor told them I had TB my husband said he did not want me. He told my mother I would infect everyone in the family,” said TB patient.

She is not alone in her isolation. Every year, one lakh women in India are thrown out of their homes because they have tuberculosis.

India accounts for one third of the world’s TB cases but it’s women who bear the brunt of the social stigma.

It’s a curable disease and yet every year one million women die of tuberculosis worldwide. One of the main reasons experts say, is because women delay seeking diagnosis afraid of rejection.

At the government TB hospital in Mumbai, one of the largest facilities in the country, of the 200 women admitted for treatment most have been abandoned by their families.

“In our country when women get the infection they are largely ill-treated by the family. Often the husbands leave them here and go away. They don’t take them back home,” said Dr Vijay Jumar Narvengkar, Dean, Government TB Hospital, Mumbai.

The disease may have a cure but the stigma doesn’t.

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