Saidi is a builder and when he got ill he had to stop working and quickly fell in debt .
“I am a builder and I work on construction sites around Dar es Salaam city so my job depends on my good health. When I came down with tuberculosis (TB), I had to stop work for three weeks without pay. I had to do many tests for different illnesses, three in total for TB, and all of them were negative. That was about five separate trips to the hospital which is costly in transport fees.
Eventually I was called by the clinic who told me that my illness was TB. They had sent my sputum sample to a place called APOPO who re-tested it using rats that can actually smell TB. I had never heard of such a thing! They beat the microscopes in the clinic! When the rats smell TB in a sample, APOPO checks it in their laboratory to confirm that TB is indeed present. Then they called my clinic who brought me back for treatment. I am now almost up to full strength and already back at work.
No pay for even a short time is a big problem for me. My job supports my family but we live hand-to-mouth, so having no income, plus the transport costs means I had to borrow money from friends and family to get by. Even though I am better now, my family is still in debt so for the next few months we will have to cut down on other things. I am just about managing to keep my children in school, but I can’t get them new books or uniforms; they will have to wait. My wife is getting thin because we have also cut down on food. I feel like it is all my fault and I am not a good husband. When people who don’t earn much like us get hit with these kinds of financial problems, there is a serious knock-on effect that takes time to overcome.”
Help APOPO to help more vulnerable people like Saidi to rebuild their lives.