Endalemaw – Ethiopia

Endalemaw is from a poor district of northern Ethiopia, where his parents are farmers. He shares a single room with 10 family members. Endalemaw’s 17-year-old sister was diagnosed with active TB by the local health clinic, clinic, and had been on treatment for five months with little sign of improvement. Endalemaw’s sister eventually received DST and was found to have MDR-TB. Endalemaw helped care for his older sister both at home and in the hospital while she was receiving treatment, but neither of them wore any type of protective mask.

In early March 2012, Endalemaw developed a fever and abdominal pain. He was treated at the local health clinic before he was referred to a local hospital. At the hospital he was told that he had schistosomiasis, an intestinal parasite.

Three months later, in June 2012, Endalemaw went to the hospital where his sister’s MDR-TB was diagnosed because he was experiencing fever, weight loss, excessive sweating, abdominal pain, cough, quickened breathing, and weakness. Endalemaw was diagnosed with TB, but after his doctors took a detailed family history and learned of his sister’s condition, they quickly changed his diagnosis to MDR-TB and admitted him to the hospital’s MDR-TB ward. Endalemaw’s doctor initiated treatment for MDR-TB a few days later, without confirmed DST. Five months into treatment, Endalemaw is improving, with no signs of hearing loss or depression. While Endalemaw’s actual treatment for TB was free, he lives far from the hospital. Both Endalemaw and his family could have benefited from financial support for costs incurred traveling to and from the hospital.

Story Collected by: Bekana Kebede, BSc, MPH, University of Gondar, Ethiopia; Gondar University Referral Hospital, Ethiopia