Mohammed Umar Story of Hope and Resilience
Mr. Mohammed Umar is a middle-aged man who passed through the cascade of management for both drug-sensitive and drugs resistant tuberculosis successfully and has voluntarily helped more people from his rural community access health services for tuberculosis and other diseases.
The problem started with recurrent fever, mild headache, unproductive cough, and he easily got tired when working as a long-distance truck driver. He visited the primary healthcare center in his community where some blood tests were done but no disease diagnosed, then proceeded to the nearest general hospital where more blood tests were done including a sputum test, but the sickness was not diagnosed, and the symptoms kept worsening. His desire for good health made him go further to the tertiary health center where he arrived late and was not attended but advised to return earlier the next day or visit the accident and emergency unit if he felt very sick but he returned home where a member of his community advised him to visit the infectious disease hospital (IDH) because the cough was now productive of sputum, with weight loss, vomiting and unable to sleep at night. The clinicians at the IDH requested only a sputum test but gave him a long appointment of 2 weeks to return for his results and while waiting he revisited the general hospital where he was offered a chest X-ray and a clinical diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis was made.
The doctors referred him to the TB treatment clinic where he started medication the same day and was transferred to the clinic in his community for supervision of treatment. His health started improving within 5 days of treatment as the fever subsided, appetite improved, coughed less, and felt stronger which gave him hope and made him adhere more to the daily medication provided under supervision.
As part of the contact details provided at the infectious disease, the hospital was his phone number which was used to call from the state tuberculosis program office and inform him that a health worker will visit him in the community to discuss his health and the treatment may have to be changed because the result of the test from the last sputum sample collected showed that the disease is resistant to the medication he was using. During the visit to his home, he was counseled and referred to the drug-resistant tuberculosis treatment center where he was admitted and treated with new drugs for four months before discharge home to complete the 20 months treatment course and declared cured based on results from several monthly tests done during a visit to the clinic to monitor his progress.
Haven enjoyed so much support from the community in form of medical advise, facilities as free laboratory tests, free medication, financial support to visit clinic and counseling Umar decided to give back to the society by counseling and referring people who had similar symptoms to the nearest clinic to be evaluated for tuberculosis, other diseases and benefit from free services like him. He does this everywhere he goes (Markets, taxis, religious and social events). For members of his community, he uses his contacts with health facilities to link them up to care and Fastrack the process, those who cannot afford transportation to the facilities he escorts them and pays for their transportation. So far, he can confirm six persons who were diagnosed with tuberculosis and treated in his community including two children. Also, he is now self-employed by venturing into waste recycling as a source of livelihood, recently got married, and is blessed with a son he decided to name after one of the health workers as a sign of honor.
This is the success story of a resilient person who sought good health, found it, and is giving back to society with gratitude.