Lilly and her four children have all had tuberculosis (TB). Her daughter died from it, and her son is currently being treated for it at the clinic MAI supports in Embo, South Africa.
‘I lost a lot of weight,’ remembers Lilly, ‘I was weak and spent most of the time in bed. My children felt upset and stressed to see me so unwell. Community caregivers visited twice a week. They comforted me, sometimes staying three hours at a time.’
Like HIV, TB carries a social stigma for those who contract it, making some reluctant to go for essential treatment. This only heightens the risk of their health worsening and the disease spreading, and is one of the major reasons why care in the community is so vital.
MAI-supported Community Caregivers in Embo encourage local people presenting signs or symptoms of TB like Lilly to visit the clinic for the treatment and support they need. By doing this they help to limit both the spread of the disease and its impact on each individual patient.
The team are tireless in identifying, referring and monitoring patientsand teaching their family members about prevention and patient care.
They also provide food, blankets, help to access government sickness payments and much-needed emotional and spiritual support.
This quality of commitment, care and kindness is a source of profound hope to people living in poverty and pain.
What’s more, it makes a significant difference. In an average month, 87% of Caregivers’ clients stay in a stable condition or see improvements to their health. Over the last year, 74 (58%) were successfully discharged, now able to care for themselves and return to work or look for employment.
Thanks to supporters like you, the Embo clinic now employs a part-time TB nurse, and has separate waiting and consultation rooms so people with TB no longer have to use the busy waiting area.
The clinic is in high demand, and last year managed a total of 25,023 patient visits, including 3,120 HIV patient health checks and counselling appointments, 485 TB patient appointments and 2,188 child health checks for under-fives.
Through your support you are giving help and comfort to people who would otherwise be facing illness alone or with little support. Thank you.