It was about a year ago when Sadiqa got a cough that wouldn't go away. "It was quite difficult for me," the 50-year-old seamstress from Quetta, Pakistan remembers. "I couldn't sleep or work because of my coughing. I was getting weaker day by day and was up all night."
Sadiqa, a widowed mother of five, was stricken with tuberculosis (TB) — the deadly disease that the World Health Organization estimates has affected more than 1.5 million people throughout Pakistan. TB is especially prevalent among the most economically productive citizens, those aged 15 to 59, making its effects — which include weight loss, fatigue and chest pains — particularly devastating to their livelihoods. Illness forced Sadiqa to stop working. When she could no longer sell her handmade wool carpets, she could not provide for her children.
Sadiqa sought treatment at a regional health clinic that Mercy Corps established in the heart of Quetta. Clinics like this are helping curb the spread of tuberculosis, providing much-needed vaccinations for children and distributing medicine to thousands of people in western Pakistan's largest city.
Mercy Corps, with support from The Global Fund and Pakistan's Ministry of Health, is equipping the clinics with modern equipment and supplies, as well as training medical staff in the latest diagnostic and treatment techniques.
These upgrades can save lives. Sadiqa's doctor, for example, referred her to the Mercy Corps-established regional health clinic because he didn't have the equipment necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. Eight months later, Sadiqa is healthy and thankful.
"If I am alive now," she says, "it is because of this treatment."