A young 12-year-old STBH client (hereafter referred to as “Hope”) has quite a story to tell.
Hope became an Orphan at the tender age of 9 in 2013. Initially living with her grandmother who was also taking care of her older sister who was already diagnosed with Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR TB) and was HIV + with Aids, this elderly Grandmother, a pensioner, was faced with a huge burden. To alleviate her of some of the pressure she was facing, consent was obtained for Hope’s aunt to take over the caring responsibilities of Hope.
Hope was diagnosed with MDR TB in June 2015 after her whole family/household was screened for symptoms by our Nurse.
At this time, Hope was in Grade 6 and sadly had to be suspended from attending school due to her diagnosis, which is a classified, contagious disease. Intensive counselling for Hope and her family, as well as for her classmates and teachers were provided by our Professional nurse after her diagnosis was made. This included Infection control education and screening of all her classmates (62 children) who were in direct contact with Hope. Thankfully no presumptive cases were found.
Being treated for MDR TB is not a walk in the park. Treatment, including injections, had to be administered to Hope at her home as there are no clinics in her area.
Hope’s aunt has two children of her own who are more or less of the same age. Health education was given to her aunt and children about cleanliness, treatment adherence and diet and infection control measures. Naturally, her Aunt was very anxious about her own children and the possibility of them contracting MDR TB. Continual counselling and support on infection control was done.
Hope was counselled on the importance of taking her treatment. This was well received as she was exceptionally keen to return to school again. She was very anxious about repeating the same Grade, but was counselled on the need for her to focus on getting better in the interim. Her homework was sent home to her by her teacher and she spent most of her time studying on her own, with some assistance from friends and family.
Hope had already experienced so much as this young age. Her mother passed away due to MDR TB and sadly her sister, who resided with her granny, also eventually passed away from AIDS. Thankfully for Hope, her family maintains healthy relations among themselves and support each other whilst they are also well supported by their local Methodist Church.
When her sister passed away, Hope moved back to stay with her grandmother. Her grandmother is an admirable lady who is very dependable and cautious about taking excellent care of Hope.
Around October 2015 Hope requested to go back to school. A Social worker from Fort Grey got involved with the support of our own Social worker. However, after medical consultation, it was advised that she had to wait until the end of the year before she could even consider going back to school. During this whole ordeal, Hope showed no fear of potential death, and was a lot more concerned about going back to school!
With her prolonged period of absenteeism, her teachers were very concerned about her request to write her final exams, but agreed to allow her the opportunity during recess in January.
Hope showed us that she was real little fighter and much to everyone’s surprise, she managed to pass her final exams which meant that she will be reunited with all her friends as she moved up to Grade 7.
Thanks to committed care and a will to live, Hope was finally given a clear medical report by her Dr and was able to return to school without any risk to others.
We are incredibly proud of Hope, her Grandmother and our STBH Nurses.
When dealing with Palliative Care, not all our patient stories end in restored health, but they all end, in restored dignity.