Meet Faith and Rosalie - Speaking Up This World TB Day
Faith was only 5 years old when she was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis for the first time (that’s TB of the lungs). At the age of 5, she took six months of antibiotics prescribed by a private physician in the Philippines. Faith was really young so she doesn’t remember that much, but her mom Rosalie says even after completing the round of treatment her daughter never fully recovered. She was “really skinny” and “always sick” throughout her childhood. Rosalie said that they would go to the doctor 5 times in a six month time period.
After Faith and her parents moved to Texas in 2005, she continued to express these symptoms. Finally, the doctors tested her again for TB when she was 12 year old and she tested positive. This time it was different. It had spread to her lymph nodes. Faith’s lymph nodes were swollen like oranges on her neck and when the doctors biopsied them, they discovered the TB bacteria. Doctors said it was highly likely that she was not treated properly for TB the first time around, and that the TB had morphed into this new form.
At first, her family was scared to talk about it. They didn’t want others at her school to know that she had TB because they were afraid of the stigma. Because Faith was not contagious, she didn’t pose a public health risk, but in their community, few people know about the different kinds of TB and it’s hard to talk about health issues.
But now, Rosalie and Faith are speaking out. They’ve teamed up with Dr. Jeffrey Starke (who helped to inform ACTION’s Children and TB brief) and RESULTS to participate in a panel called “Voices of TB” that USAID is sponsoring March 22 at the National Press Club in honor of World TB Day this March 24. There will be voices of TB patients from Vietnam, Nigeria, and Kenya, as well.