Through her #breakthestigma campaign, TB survivor Green will be lending her support to raise awareness of global and national campaigns with the hope that those suffering from the illness will receive greater access to the support they need.
Green was diagnosed with occupationally acquired TB three years ago, but failed to share her story because of the stigma associated with it.
When asked about her early experience with the illness, Green said: “I was officially diagnosed in June 2015 and I started treatment immediately. I made the decision not to tell any of my extended family and friends for fear of being treated differently and being isolated as this often happens with TB patients.”
After falling particularly ill during her second month of treatment, Green was forced to defer important exams during the third year of degree. To compound matters, she also contracted hepatitis, though luckily she was able to change medication before suffering any long-term health issues.
Commenting on how the experience with the disease changed her mindset, Green added: “I learnt that you don’t have to deal with everything by yourself. Speaking about this now is hopefully not only helping other people speak up but is also helping me process and deal with what happened.”
She will run her campaign in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Department of Health. WHO’s End TB campaign is aiming to conquer the global TB epidemic, with targets to reduce TB deaths by 95% and to cut new cases by 90% between 2015 and 2035, and to ensure that no family is burdened with catastrophic expenses due to TB.
“It took me three years to talk about my story. I could have avoided a lot of trauma speaking about it sooner. I want to encourage people not to be afraid to speak up about their problems and get the help they need. It is the only way we are going to beat TB,” Green said.