Maria Menya Nakeny is 34 years old mother of 6 children. She had to fight against tuberculosis, in three different stages: drug-susceptible tuberculosis, multi-resistant tuberculosis (MDR) and finally extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR). In 2016 Maria began to feel sick and she immediately turned to a traditional healer hoping to find a solution for her symptoms, but unfortunately the herbal treatment prescribed did not improve her health. Therefore, she chose to go to the health center in Lopeei where she was tested positive for tuberculosis.
In September 2016 Maria started a six-month treatment, but she stopped taking medication once she began to notice an improvement in her health, just three months after starting the treatment. The treatment for tuberculosis requires a long time, great consistency and continuity, and, although the improvements in health can be noticed quickly, it is essential to complete the whole treatment to avoid relapses. A few months after giving birth to her 5th child Maria started getting worse again.
“I went to the St. Kizito hospital in Matany and I was diagnosed with tuberculosis again. I was hospitalised for 3 weeks and then transferred to the nearest facility to continue the therapy – says Maria -. After a few days I was called again and admitted once more to Matany hospital for 3 months since I tested positive for MDR tuberculosis”.
Maria had to walk for more than 4 km every day to get her medicines at the Lopeei health center regardless the scorching sun or the heavy rains. This is precisely why she stopped the treatment again for over a week. The CUAMM team in charge of Maria’s case immediately went to her house to convince her to start again the treatment. Shortly after, Maria became pregnant again: “I was worried about how I would continue the treatment and the potential effects on my baby – Maria explains -. However, the health workers reassured and encouraged me to continue my treatment path”.
After further tests, Maria tested positive for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR) and her treatment needed to be changed to respond to the variation in her disease.
“I realized that life is very important and I regret the moment when I had stubbornly decided to drop out the treatment. The CUAMM team and the health professionals have been committed to saving my life in every way, much more than I did for myself. I am grateful to them. I also managed to buy some goats and sheep that I take care of and now I live happily with my family”, concluded Maria.
After 4 years, in November 2020, Maria finally completed her treatment and won her battle against TB. Now she goes to the hospital once a month for check-ups. She survived thanks to the help of passionate and dedicated health workers and thanks to the support of Doctors with Africa CUAMM. She therefore suggests to all those who do not feel well in her community to go to the health center even just for a check-up and to receive the assistance they need. She also encourages people who have tested positive for TB to be steady with the treatment to avoid facing what she’s been through.
This is one of the many happy ending stories made possible thanks to the intervention in Karamoja to improve the quality of services for diagnosis and treatment of Tb and multi-drug resistant Tb, particularly within the projects: “It’s Good Tb free! Project to contribute to a TB Free Uganda by 2020“, financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, as part of the expenditure for technical assistance to the Global Fund for the fight against aids, tuberculosis and malaria and implemented by Doctors with Africa CUAMM in partnership with the University of Milan and the University of Makerere, and the project ” Support to St. Kizito Hospital of Matany and to the Napak Distrcit in Karamoja”, financed by Fondation Assistance Internationale (FAI).