Photovoices and the Human Face of TB

An Instrument for Advocacy, Stigma Reduction and Patient Empowerment

Photovoices is an instrument of participative research, using photography to help people to identify, represent and manifest their needs related to TB. It uses the principles of documentary photography to capture experiences from the perspective of the most vulnerable. The photography gives them a chance to recognize their strengths, priorities and worries related to life and to the disease, giving a voice to those who normally are not heard. It also promotes the generation of knowledge and a critical dialogue around the most important issues related to TB through discussions about the pictures. (Photos and the accompanying text from TB patients in the Dominican Republic, Thanks to KNCV Dominican Republic, Coach - Heraldo Suero, Ivonne Orejel-Juarez and Netty Kamp). Please be patient: The slideshow is designed to run at a steady pace.

  • TB is like the smoke that came out of this house when it was burning, like the smoke that harms both patients and healthy people.
  • The disease also breaks our heart, even though we might think we are free from this reality, we are vulnerable to pain, to isolation…
  • Living one above the other.. a common situation among TB patients
  • In spite of this darkness, of that fear I felt when I had the disease, there was light coming in.
  • Death. That only happens to those who do not persist in taking their medication. People in better circumstances than me, did not persevere and died.
  • That is a health center where you breathe loneliness and abandonment, and it is where people go to be treated.
  • I feel very sorry for my niece.. She has TB, and the fear and despair stops her from listening to her doctor.. She has no desire to live
  • I remember that I felt just like this, when I left the hospital after they had told me I had TB,  I was desperate...
  • My neighbour is more than a sister. When I let my head hang down, she lifted it up. She told me she was with me and that I should have faith that my treatment would cure me.
  • What I most like about my work is that I can give love to, and receive love from my TB patients with whom I work day to day.
  • Like they do with pigs, people came to visit me... from a distance..
  • The first thing they told my mother was that I could not drink from the cups at home. Now I know you don’t catch it that way.
  • Warmly dressed on a hot sunny day, so he wouldn´t catch a cold and so nobody would notice he was sick..
  • There are persons who are with us, but who are not. They hold a distance. A family member hid behind a window when she knew I had TB. The separation is like death.
  • They discuss and share with friends, leaving the new one out. That is how I felt, left out...
  • For me there are 2 worlds, this side of the wall where we the patients are and the other side where the healthy people are
  • When you have TB, it is like being handicapped and the people run away from you. Who will give me a friendly hand, so I can stand up again?
  • I had to drink from disposable cups, as they told me to, and like this man, I used to disguised myself..  so people did not recognize me when I went for treatment...
  • Like this chicken seller hides how he kills the chickens, I hid my disease for a long time..I was afraid that people would reject me..
  • Covered, disguised, hidden...the way I used to go around when I had TB
  • My friend the  mechanic repairs engines in his workshop.. Soon they will have to repair him because when I see him spitting blood, I realize he might have TB..the saddest thing is that he refuses to go to the health centre.
  • “Curer of pans” Although he is sick he has to work, to earn his living. He says he would like, in the same way as with the pans, to clean up his lungs.
  • That bus needs to be aired, as does the fact that TB is curable…
  • Working together the bees make their honey. In the same way, in the fight against TB, unity is strength.
  • What lies ahead? Tuberculosis is curable! This truth CAN bring hope to all families who are still suffering because of TB.
  • How much I needed to eat what I liked, but it was forbidden! This disease is a disgrace
  • What a blessing to be able to wash my hair with shampoo! It was forbidden while I was sick
  • Do you have TB? You can easily do your work. I’ve now been on treatment for 3 months and I’m able to support my family
  • Although they tell you not to use it, you can use it! You can stay clean and nice smelling when you take your medicines!
  • That is how my life was, only closed doors…