Sandhya Krishnan: TB champion chooses hope

By: Results Canada Published: 26/03/2024

“Let's keep up the good fight and never lose hope!”

Sandhya Krishnan wears many hats – Executive & Life Skills coach, mother, scuba diver, trainer for The Moth’s Global Advocacy Program, and a TB survivor-advocate.

To mark World TB Day on the 24th of March, and to inform our efforts to end TB with the stories of those most closely impacted by it, we sat down with Sandhya with questions about her TB story, her experiences as an advocate, and her hopes as a survivor:

RC: First of all, can you tell us a bit about your TB story?

Sandhya: I contracted TB about 12 years ago, during a very busy and stressful time in my life. I was a young mother, running one business and just starting another and was completely unaware of the disease ravaging my body, despite symptoms of fever, cough and weight loss. It was only when I perforated my lung that I took this seriously and got a proper diagnosis. By then the bacterial load was very high and treatment was long and slow.

#SurvivorStory: 'Women Fighting TB' featuring Sandhya Krishnan

RC: You, like many of our volunteers, are also an advocate for TB elimination as well as support for survivors – we’d love to hear a bit more about that side of it!

I have been a part of Survivors Against TB, a survivor-lead collective that advocates for patient rights in diagnosis, treatment, their journey within the healthcare system, access to medication, and especially focused on gendered care and care for marginalised groups.

We also advocate for policy change, create media campaigns that are shared through social media, through the government and not for profit agencies, and we also work in the area of holistic health and TB prevention.

We at SATB strongly believe that breaking the stigma around TB and creating awareness around the disease are key to moving towards a TB-free world. We have been advocating for TB vaccines, survivor and community representation at various forums where healthcare and TB policies are discussed, and providing on-the-ground support for survivors - whether it’s community building and emotional or psychological support, or mobilising resources for patient referrals or access to medication and alerting stakeholders to depleting stocks of certain medications across the country.

RC: What is your vision for the future for TB? And what would you say is stopping us from getting there?

That’s an easy one: a TB-free world.

I feel like the scale of the disease and the variants of it that are infectious make treatment and patient-specific policy less effective in the long run.

Eventually change has to happen at a systemic – organisational, community, national and international – level. And these need to incorporate elements of prevention – not just a TB vaccine, but also better urban design: transport, open spaces, housing design, access to nutritious food, recreation, work-life balance, healthcare.

For this, we need to move beyond short-sighted capitalist ideas of profiteering just from pharma and treatment and giving gains to shareholders and investors.

I truly do believe that health and wellness for all actually benefits everyone and creates greater wealth for all; a world that is more equitable, sustainable and thriving. That’s conscious living!

RC: We could not agree more! What would you say you’re most passionate about in TB advocacy?

Personally, I am very passionate about the role of nutrition, community health, and especially the mental health issues around TB. In a country like India, where millions of us are exposed to the TB antigen, our lifestyles, and especially stress, can play a significant role in whether the disease manifests or not.

Women, other genders and mothers with TB is another area of focus. As well as leading healthy lives overall.

RC: A holistic approach definitely cannot be understated when it comes to TB elimination. To wrap this up, do you have any parting words for our readers?

Yes, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible” (Christopher Reeve). Let's keep up the good fight and never lose hope!

We celebrate the advocacy and passion of those like Sandhya – surviving TB and adding her voice to global efforts to #EndTB. Inspired to join the movement? Become a Results volunteer!

To learn more about Sandhya and her work, visit her website and follow her on Instagram, LinkedIn or Youtube!

sign up and get informed

Everyday people empowered to generate the political will to end extreme poverty. Change is possible.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.