Balika Pun Magar is 58, and lives in Majkoat, Pyuthan. She belongs to a very poor family with physically and mentally ill husband and two sons who are currently working in India to earn some money. Crops/grains produced by the family lasts only for three months.
Our volunteer, Narayani KC was informed by Balika’s neighbor that she had been coughing for the last 6 months but couldn’t go to the health facility for testing. When Narayani reached her house she was lying in bed. She had already developed severe complications of TB and lost her hearing capacity. And, she was unwilling to participate in the TB screening. However, with repeated visits and counselling with the help of local leader and her neighbor, she finally got convinced in the 4th visit to give her sputum sample for TB testing. However, the nearest health facility was 5 to 6 hours walk away. Thanks to drone, her sample was transported to Pyuthan Hospital within minutes and the report was positive. She was immediately enrolled in the treatment.
Balika has completed her intensive phase treatment. She is regularly taking her medicine. And, with the consistent care and attention by the volunteer, she has become healthier than before and can do her normal chores. During a follow up by Narayani, Balika said, “I was in bed, there was no body to help me and I felt like I will die, but now I feel healthy and strong. I would to like to thank you and BNMT Nepal for saving my life and other TB patients like me”. Like Balika, many people affected by TB in hilly areas of Pyuthan can’t reach health facilities due to difficult topography, financial problem and lack of awareness; they need new technologies like drones for timely and early diagnosis and treatment.