Damien Foundation Nigeria
Waris has recovered and can return to school. Damien Foundation spoke to the school beforehand, to make it clear that Waris is no longer infectious and that there is no reason for concern or to exclude him. This minor awareness-raising action had an effect and Waris has since returned to the classroom; but what is really needed is a large-scale information campaign, because people with TB are often ostracised, even once they have recovered. Papoola, the tailor who was forced to sell his sewing machine when he was sick, wants to rebuild his business; but he is lacking one of the essentials: customers. “They avoid us like the plague”, he says. “People think at if I make their clothes for them they will catch TB. Nobody comes to visit us, we have lost all our friends. Luckily for me, my wife didn't run away.” Even the good-humoured Bosede (39), who recovered from multi-drug resistant TB in the hospital in Jericho, fears for her job. “I'm afraid, in case my school won't want a teacher that has had tuberculosis.” People are so ignorant of the disease that they don't believe a person can recover. Damien Foundation is doing all it can to raise awareness and alter people's behaviour.
TEXTS: Wendy Huyghe
PHOTOS: Tim Dirven @T.Dirven for Damien Foundation