Forming a unified front with simple but yet effective tools, an army of women villagers and housewives is taking the lead in the fight against the global tuberculosis epidemic in the South Asian nation of
"I am convinced that this largely contributes to the high cure rate," said Marijke Becx, who was until recently the tuberculosis adviser for the World Health Organization (WHO) in
She praised the volunteering work of women in fighting the infectious disease in
Private groups have stepped in to take charge of national treatment programs, recruiting women in the rural areas for the cause.
Forming a sort of surveillance groups, village women and housewives conduct household surveys in their neighborhoods searching for patients.
Some 300,000 new tuberculosis cases and 70,000 tuberculosis-related deaths are registered each year in
A 70,000-strong women network across the country is enrolled in battling the deadly disease.
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that most commonly affects the lungs.
Experts, however, say it can affect almost any part of the body.
A fact sheet released this year by the WHO indicates that TB is on the rise after 40 years of worldwide decline. It had infected two billion people worldwide so far.
Highly recorded in poor countries, TB is labeled as a disease of the poor.
Volunteering health workers innovated a way to make sure that people stay in treatment, by collecting a deposit equivalent of about $3 cash in every time the patient is checked during the six months of treatment.
At the end of the treatment period, the whole sum of money is returned.
"They're very happy when they get the money back," said Zahida Khatun Jharna as she rose from her cooking fire to check a villager who entered her house.
The housewife said she has followed 27 patients in her village during the past 12 years and gained the credibility for her efforts.
Becx said the program is very simple and direct for the patients.
"They are a doorstep away from whoever supervised the treatment," she told The Times.
"They don't need to walk for hours or spend money for buses or rickshaws in order to get their supervised treatment."
Majira Dakkhinpura, from Monowara Begum, makes a daily routine of touring houses in her underprivileged village with her bag full of medicines for ordinary ailments.
Walking through narrow alleys with her small drugstore, Dakkhinpura pushed in creaky gates repeating her question every time "Can we come in?"
In every house, she starts asking whether anyone is suffering from disease symptoms, giving simple instructions for protection and selling people some essential drugs like headache and pain pills and dehydration salts.
It is the world third-largest Muslim majority country with a population of some 148 million.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16