Mwasana Chipangola is 30 and lives in a dry, dusty compound called Kalingalinga, in the Zambian capital of Lusaka. Mwasana isn’t married, so she lives with her father and stepmother, and looks after her five young brothers and sisters. Mwasana became extremely ill and weak in 2009 but didn’t know what was wrong. Luckily, she lived very close by to Precious, one of our community volunteers. Precious took Mwasana straight to our partner, Zatulet, for diagnosis and help. Mwasana diligently took her antibiotic TB treatment, and with Precious supporting her, she started to gain strength.
However, her bad chest just wouldn’t improve and eventually, back at Zatulet, she was tested and found to be HIV positive. Co-infection with HIV can often make TB extremely difficult to diagnose and to treat. In fact, one third of all HIV and Aids related deaths around the world are from TB. So, Mwasana had to change her treatment and she needed the support of Precious more than ever before. When Mwasana was diagnosed with TB, she felt stigmatised and she experienced discrimination from some people in her community. Mwasana became so ill, and had so much difficulty moving about, that she was often carried in a wheelbarrow. She was laughed at and made to feel very unhappy.
Even her family reacted badly to her illness. They were worried that she was so sick and unable to work, and therefore unable to earn money for food. Happily, Mwasana’s health has been improving steadily since then. When we met her in early 2010, she was on the road to full recovery from TB, feeling much stronger and better able to look after her siblings. Mwasana says it is the support she received from Target TB and its partner Zatulet that has helped her to cope. She told us ‘I look forward to Precious visiting every week’.