Miss South Africa, Tamaryn Green has opened up about her battle with Tuberculosis as she launches her #BreakTheStigma campaign.
The announcement came as the 24-year-old medical doctor from Paarl in the Western Cape let the country know that she will focus her charitable efforts on the fight against TB during her reign as Miss SA.
She revealed, for the first time, that she is a TB survival, having battled the disease in 2015.
It is the prerogative of each Miss SA to choose a cause that is close to her heart or launch a campaign that will, hopefully, change lives.
Tamaryn has chosen to launch the #BreakTheStigma campaign through which she will play a part in raising awareness of national and global efforts to fight TB with the hope that people suffering from tuberculosis will come out of the shadows and not be stigmatized.
She herself suffered from occupationally acquired TB in 2015 and was unable to disclose her diagnosis due to fear of being stigmatized.
After official diagnosis in June 2015 she immediately sought treatment but decided to keep the news away from extended family and friends.
Tamaryn was a third-year medical student at the University of Cape Town when she was diagnosed.
She eventually opened up to one of her lecturers, who put her in touch with a specialist doctor.
She also received counselling from the university.
The medication she was on led to her developing hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) which made matters worse for her.
“I felt ill every day for a month and I deferred my exams and moved back home. My medication was then changed and soon I started feeling better until eventually I was cured. The whole story was more traumatic than I ever allowed myself to admit. It not only affected me but also my immediate family and close friends,” said Tamaryn.
“It took me three years to talk about my story. I could have avoided a lot of trauma speaking about it sooner. I am now in the process of dealing with it. 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,” she continued.
#BreakTheStigma will be run together with the National Department of Health as well as the World Health Organisation.
Tamaryn wants people to know a number of things about TB:
• TB does not discriminate! Anyone can get it.
• TB is a curable disease
• TB is a global problem
• TB is mainly spread by breathing in airborne bacteria from people with active infectious TB
• A person can be infected by the TB organism for years without getting sick or spreading the disease. If the immune system is weakened for some reason, latent TB infection can develop into active disease. This can happen to anyone
• TB can be treated.