Tanzania – Hadija

Hadija ex TB-patient dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Hadija was sick for a long time without knowing what she had or getting treatment.

“My name is Hadija Issa, I’m from Mtwara but I moved to Dar es Salaam in 2010 with my husband. We have five children of which the two youngest live with us.

It all started on the street where we live when MUKIKUTE Community Health Workers were calling people to speak to them about tuberculosis (TB) and offer free testing. I didn’t think I had TB, but after their awareness education, I recognized the symptoms and decided to give my sputum sample to be tested. Nothing to lose right? After all I had been having night sweats, a consistent cough and chest pains over the past few weeks but the clinic I went to didn’t find malaria and was unable to diagnose me. Then the MUKIKUTE speaker told us how TB can be passed on from family member to family member and even lie dormant for years. I became worried that I might have gotten it from my sister who had TB. My father and brother died from TB some years ago because they never finished treatment.

Within a day, I got a call, and they asked me to go to Kizuiani Hospital, not the usual clinic I go to. I was terrified, I thought maybe my older son got in an accident. He works as a motorcycle taxi (bodaboda). When I got to the hospital, they told me that they had found that I was TB-positive!They told me my sputum samples was tested twice, and that it was with the help of APOPO’s that my TB was detected. I was amazed at how strange the world is and I was happy too to know what I had and that I could be cured. Who knew that rats could find my illness! I will not despise or take them for granted anymore because rats can save human lives. They save mine. I began treatment immediately and the clinic taught me about how to look after myself and protect my family. They explained that I could be cured but it was very important to finish the whole course of treatment even if I started feeling better. After a few weeks they said a health care practitioner from MKIKUTE would even bring me medication at home.

After 7 weeks they changed my medication and finally 6 months later I’m healed completely. The most challenging part of my recovery was being isolated and relying on my husband to take care of the family. This meant sometimes my children were eating late, past their bedtime. And I had to wait for food to take my medication. I am grateful for him and all he did for us. He did what he could to make ends meet. I sincerely thank APOPO and the HeroRATs because now things have gone back to normal. I am getting stronger and stronger, and I recently began working again to supplement the household income. I sell fruits on the street in our neighborhood. Things are slowly getting back to how they used to be.”

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