Phalombe TIMS Case story: Lydia Chilobwe
Lydia Chilobwe comes from Chinani Village, Group Village Headman Chinani in Traditional Authority Chiwalo in Phalombe district. She is 37 years old with 2 children. She was diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) in June 2014 at Holy Family Hospital in Phalombe district. She started receiving treatment, but it was cut short since there were no drugs at Nambazo Health Centre where she was collecting her drugs. Due to financial constraints she could not manage to procure some for herself nor travel to the next health facilities for medication. For three years Lydia was still experiencing TB signs and Symptoms which included sweating at night, progressive coughing and she was only able to lie on one side and keep the same posture for comfort when sleeping.
Lydia’s mother insisted that she visits the hospital to seek medical help since her condition was deteriorating with each passing day but Lydia was refusing to go to the hospital. It wasn’t until early June in 2017 that she met Nixon, TIMS Peer Educator who lives in the same village with Lydia. She explained to Nixon about her condition who informed her about DAPP – TB in the Mining Sector (TIMS) Field Officers (FO) who were sensitizing people in the area to go for TB screening.
She narrates, “I asked Nixon to inform the FOs about my situation and they visited me the following day. I explained about the signs and symptoms and they gave me bottles to collect sputum which I took to Nambazo Health Centre the following day. After the lab tests at Nambazo they found out that I didn’t have TB. The DAPP – TIMS FOs insisted that I should go to Phalombe district hospital for further diagnosis with X-ray. I was diagnosed with TB but unfortunately the hospital did not have TB drugs as such I was referred to Holy Family, a mission hospital, where I received 7 bottles of TB drugs. I returned to the village to continue my treatment, and I was receiving injections for 60 days at Nambazo. Since I have been taking medicine, there has been significant improvement to my health and I will be finishing my treatment on 8 January 2018.”
During the course of receiving TB treatment, DAPP’s Field Officers for TB in the Mining Sector project, work with the TB clients and their guardians. A trio, a group of three people comprising the patient and two guardians, is formed to provide support to the patient. Members of the trio ensure that the patient is adhering to drugs, living in a clean place, using clean utensils, eating nutritious meals and practice safe preventive measures to the rest of the family. The trio is also taught how to prepare meals that contain all six food groups through cooking demonstrations which are organized by the same field officers. Additionally, the trio is required to establish a vegetable garden at the household and are taught on the importance of direct observed therapy to the patients on TB Treatment.
Lydia’s trio members, Emily Gilevulo and Chrissy James, have been providing support to the patient since she was diagnosed with TB. During her early stage of treatment, the two women moved into the house of the patient to ensure timely assistance and support is offered. However, the patient was sleeping alone in a separate room away from the rest of the household members to avoid transmission of the airborne disease. She was using her own utensils like plates and cups which were cleaned with boiled water after use. Children below the age of five from the household received isoniazid prophylaxis that protected them contracting TB.
Lydia is now fit and able to walk long distances on her own. Lung parenchyma are usually affected by TB disease per X-ray interpretation. She said she had lost hope but TB in the Mining Sector project has helped her to live again.