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A success story: Surviving Tuberculosis

Masiza Lukhele is an ex-miner who lives in Buseleni - a chiefdom found in Nkwene constituency. He earns a living from keeping poultry in a small scale that helps him keep his family slightly above the poverty datum line. He was diagnosed with TB while working in the dusty tunnels of one of the South African mines. He first enrolled for treatment in Lebanon hospital in the Republic of South Africa and was successful in completing a six months long treatment. During his treatment he was compelled to retire from work. He was again diagnosed of TB and this time being the stronger type known as MDR. He spent up to 24 months undergoing intensive treatment. One of the most difficult challenges he faced was that he got very weak and could no longer afford to travel the long distance from home to hospital.

 

He sought to be treated nearby his home and a treatment supporter who happened to be a rural health motivator was identified, trained and given the appropriate treatment kit to treat him from home. Masiza was at all-times committed to taking his medication as prescribed. He relied on the support of his radio alarm and family to remind him when it was time for taking pills. Though he went through the strain of taking up to 21 kinds of tablets, he never gave up but always thrived in adhering to treatment until the medical practitioner told him to stop. He was thereafter instructed by the doctor to stop taking treatment because he had been successful.

 

He was awarded a certificate of Completion by MSF and he now voluntarily serves as a community treatment motivator to other TB patients.  It has been 2 years since he stopped his treatment and during an interview with SAfAIDS he uttered “I never wanted to be on MDR that is why I thrived in adhering to treatment, I do not wish for TB to come back.” He went on to appeal for financial support in paying school fees for his children because he can no longer do high energy demanding work as he has now developed weak lungs which do not allow him to do hard labour anymore