A family shaken, tested and survived MDRTB

The mother died of tuberculosis leaving behind five (5) children. Janice, the third child is also ill, of the same disease. Consultations were made, treatment courses were finished, the family finances all drained and hopelessness pervaded. Janice found herself admitted at QI hospital, frail, malnourished, dyspneic O2 dependent, depressed and hopeless.

Janice, started treatment, through the Global Fund's PMDT programme. She gradually recovered, but adverse drug reactions slowed down the healing process. Eventually, as her body slowly adjusted to the anti-TB drugs, and her nutritional status gradually improved, a sign of hope radiated back on her face with a smile.

On Janice's second month on treatment, the father, who was the sole breadwinner of the family, was found to have MDRTB on contact tracing. He postponed treatment for sometime because of financial incapability. Not being over the ordeal, Joan the second child was also diagnosed with MDRTB followed by the eldest, Janette and then later the youngest, Paul Alvin.

How will this family survive when all of them will be on treatment? The father saw to it that all his children were on treatment before he decided to start with his own. The pain and anxiety was etched on his face.

When Janice was discharged from the hospital, she was accommodated at the KASAKA MDRTB halfway house. Because of the urgency of putting them all in treatment, KASAKA also accommodated Joan and their father until such time when they were qualified for decentralization. . The father is now working to meet the financial demands of the family, with no fear and limitations. After all these years of hardships and sacrifices every member of the family is productive and on the way to recovery in body, mind and spirit. This family was shaken, tested and survived MDRTB successfully because they never gave up!

The father actively participated in patient activities, particularly cultivating a vegetable garden which provided extra nourishing food not only among in house patients but to everyone as well. Gradually with moral support from the treatment partners, encouragement from fellow patients and financial support from the program, the family finished their treatment courses, and cured.

Paul Alvin is still on treatment , but will be finished in time. Janice is in school taking up Bachelor of Arts in Education, and just finished her post treatment follow-ups unremarkably. Joanne was able to avail of a full college scholarship support from a faith based organization. Janette is now on a full time job selling Avon products thus, able to support her family, and Paul Alvin who is still on treatment

Written by Marietta B. Solante, MD, Clinic Physician of KASAKA- QI MDRTB Housing Facility, and edited by NSBayawa