Field Notes: Tajikistan
Tuberculosis Attacked Her, Threatening to Kill
Until Your Support Saved Her Life
When you see Zamira, 23, and living in Tajikistan, she looks content. Even happy. But beneath that exterior runs a river of sorrow.
A deadly disease — tuberculosis — preyed on her family for years. It stalked her, too, and attacked. Here’s what happened.
The first tragedy struck when Zamira’s brother, eager to get a good job, left his village to find work in Russia. But he fell ill and soon became too sick to work. It was TB. With the last of his money, he returned home, and that’s where he died.
Soon after, a second tragedy struck. Zamira’s mother started coughing. TB had attacked her, too. But the family had no money for medicine and treatment. It was heartbreaking. Zamira’s mom passed away. The disease claimed another victim.
But TB was still lurking. And this time, it attacked Zamira. At first, she got the sniffles. Then she started coughing. The folk remedy she tried did nothing. Her cough got worse … a hacking cough deep in her lungs.
She was losing weight, feeling deathly tired and burning up with fever. Fear seized her heart. Did she have the disease that killed her brother and mother?
Mustering her courage, she went to the clinic and learned the truth. “I’m so sorry, Zamira,” the doctor said. “You have tuberculosis.”
But this time, it was different. This time, TB came up against your generosity. “My mother and brother got sick in the days before the medicine was available,” Zamira says. “So they didn’t have a chance.”
But thanks to you, Zamira did have a chance. She started on a treatment plan. Subduing the disease took eight long months with a variety of medicines. And during treatment, she suffered from searing joint pain.
But finally, the fevers lessened, and she began gaining weight. Renewed health surged through her, blossoming into new hope for the future. She’s cured now, because of you.