Dr Liani Smit
I am a medical doctor who was diagnosed with TB during my second year of internship in 2010. My symptoms were somewhat atypical – although I had fever, fatigue and progressive shortness of breath, I didn’t have a cough. At the time of diagnosis I was admitted to ICU with multilobar lung involvement, pleural effusions and massive mediastinal lymphnode enlargement. Following diagnosis on lymph node biopsy, I completed 6 months of treatment for drug-sensitive TB and made a full recovery.
It has been valuable to connect with other health care workers who have also been affected by TB. When I was undergoing TB treatment, I felt alone and isolated. TB Proof has not only created a platform of support and information for health care workers affected by TB, but also plays an integral role in putting information about the risks of occupational TB (especially DR-TB) out there. I believe TB Proof has played a major role in better awareness and adherence of health care workers to personal protection and other infection control measures.
TB is preventable and TB is curable. Yet, too many people continue to unnecessarily die from this disease. Stigma within the community and lack of access to safe, effective and short course treatments fuel the epidemic. As a TB Champion, I advocate for the rights of people affected by TB and aim to educate health care workers, students and the community about TB. Let’s get the facts right. If I can get TB, anyone can get TB.