The name of the child in this story has been changed to protect confidentiality.
Akiki was diagnosed with drug-resistant TB in April 2002 when she was just six years old. Akiki was admitted to the hospital because her treatment required her to be hooked up to a tube that could deliver medicines through one of her veins, and she also had to receive daily pills from a hospital provider. The pills were too big for Akiki to take easily, and their smell often made Akiki feel nauseated and lose her appetite.
Akiki experienced stigma as a result of her diagnosis. She was moved from a shared room with her brothers into her own room, and she had to use a different cup than everyone else in the family. Because Akiki was very young, she did not understand why this happened nor why she had to take medicines every day, especially when she was no longer feeling sick.
Fortunately, Akiki responded well to her treatment. Her mother wishes that there was more TB advocacy and education in her community. She also notes that it would be valuable for patients and families if there was a forum where those who have had experience with the disease could share the lessons that they have learned with others.