By: Ahmed Hussein Zubayr, Advocacy, Communication & Social Mobilization Field Coordinator
Fadumo, 8 years old, lives in Garowe District in Nugal Region Puntland. She lives with her mother Saido Mohamud Jama.
According to her mother, Fadumo has been suffering for the last 4 years from what she thought was tonsillitis. When she got sick, her mother thought it was something minor and never imagined it could be something that would put her daughter on medication for several months. But when Fadumo did not recover, she started seeking treatment from different doctors. “I started taking my child from one doctor to another. I took my child to a private clinic. They prescribed for her many drugs but she did not recover. but no recovery signs were showing,” she narrates.
Fadumo’s mother tells me her daughter’s situation started deteriorating day after day.
“The child (Fadumo) was always coughing, vomiting blood, was hot to touch (had high temperature) and not sleeping well. Worried that her child might have TB, she decided to take the child to Garowe TB Center.
Garowe TB center is located in Garowe, the capital city of Puntland State. The health facility is supported by World Vision, which is the principal recipient of Global Fund TB Programme. World Vision supports the programme by providing incentives for health staff, running costs and supplies both drugs and laboratory reagents (chemicals used to process TB testing). World Vision also procured equipment for the health facility to help enhance the diagnosis, case detection and treatment of TB disease.
After Saido and her child (Fadumo) visited the facility, they met with a doctor. She was sent for both lab and chest x-ray examination. When results came, the doctor confirmed that the child and had TB and will need to start TB treatment immediately. Fadumo's mother continues to explain: “I was informed that my child has TB and that she needs to start the treatment which will last for six months.”
As soon as Fadumo started the treatment, her health condition slowly started to improve. Saido says that “within seven days of the TB treatment, the child started showing improvement and signs of recovery. We give all thanks to Allah and everyone who has supported us.” The weight of the child improved from 15 kilos to 19 kilos since she began the treatment. She says the cough reduced, vomiting stopped and the child started to sleep properly. In June the child was in her fifth month of treatment, and the recovery process is remarkable.
Fadumo was put under TB treatment that involves Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) strategy. The mother explains: “I came here (at the TB center) weekly to collect the drugs for the child as per the observation of the nurses. And I am happy. The nurse told me the child should not miss taking drugs even for a single day during this six month treatment period.''
If the child missed taking the drugs, this will affect the treatment, and the disease can become Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR-TB). Taking drugs is observed on a daily basis but in some instances, drugs are collected weekly. At collection time, nurses observe the patient for weight gain, side effects and any other health concerns.
Apart from the treatment, the center provides food rations to Fadumo to improve her nutritional status.
In the course of the treatment, the child did not develop any major side effects. “The staff of the health center welcomed and treated us well,” she says with a smile.
“Now Fadumo is well and can join primary school. All thanks to Allah (God). I am very happy that my child recovered, and I will ensure that she completes the treatment successfully. I am grateful to Garowe TB center staff, World Vision and the Government for providing this support. Free diagnosis with free treatment and skilled staff is something which is very rare to get here, so let us benefit from it,” she adds.
Through the TB Programme, World Vision in collaboration with the National Tuberculosis Program and World Health Organization also supports health workers with capacity building. The center also provides free drugs and health education sessions to patients.
Fadumo is one of many who have been helped by this clinic. In 2018, the team was able to test 436 people for TB and successfully treat 389 people.