By Simon Nyabwengi - National Director for World Vision in Somalia
It starts innocuously –the cough which one dismisses and attributes to a change in weather patterns while hoping that it will go away by itself. Only that it does not go away. Instead, it worsens. The cough literally eats into people’s respiratory system, chipping away at their lungs and life itself.
Then one day, the person notices blood in his or her sputum after a cough. This becomes a clear sign that the cough is not normal and warrants medical attention.
For the lucky ones like Kamila, there is a Tuberculosis (TB) clinic funded by The Global Fund and run by Community Empowerment and Development Action (CEDA), a local partner of World Vision in Dollo.
Kamila went to this clinic, and had her sputum sample taken and tested. Thereafter, she received the sad news that she had TB, a potentially fatal bacterial infection that if not treated could kill her.
But there was good news too. Her disease had not progressed to the drug resistance variety and a six-month drug regimen would see her completely healed.
There was further good news. Because she was underweight, she would be provided with food rations for six months while on treatment.
When I met her, she was well on the road to recovery and very grateful for the treatment she had received. She has gone out of her way to educate her community on TB. She also helps in contact tracing to help identify people with the disease in her community.
Kamila is a living example of this year's theme for World TB Day: Invest to End TB; Save Lives. She is investing her time to identify and get treatment for people suffering from TB in her community, thanks to resources invested by The Global Fund that ensure those with the disease are able to access the required medication.
This investment of time and resources saved Kamila’s life. Let us invest together to end TB and save lives.