“I’m 64 years old and my eight-year old granddaughter Nasra recently survived tuberculosis (TB) because of APOPO. She had started coughing and sweating, and I suspected it was TB because I know many people who have suffered from it. Her doctor put her on antibiotics for a virus but after two months she had lost so much weight I became very worried. Her parents are separated and her mother’s works to put food on our table. So it was up to me to get Nasra some help.
To get tested for TB at the nearest clinic we needed to take a motorbike taxi that took 2 hours and costs 3,000 Tanzania Shillings ($1.25) one way. We don’t have this money to spare but we had to scrape it together. However, her test came back negative so we were back to square one. Nasra continued to get worse and was pulled from school, partley because other children and parents began to discriminate against her. In some parts of Tanzania, TB is misunderstood and people are badly treated because of this. We went to the clinic three times and all of the tests were negative. She had now lost a lot of weight and was very weak. We were desperate.
Then we were called by the clinic who told us that they had sent her sample to an organisation called APOPO for further testing. They use rats that can smell TB in the samples. They suspected TB in Nasra’s sample and APOPO then used other tests to confirm it. She had TB!
Nasra went straight on treatment and is now much better. She has gained weight and energy and has begun playing again. I dread to think what would have happened if APOPO had not tested her. Thank you so much!”
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