JB – Philippines

JB is the fourth child in a family of six children. JB’s father works part-time in construction, and his mother is a housewife. In 2005, JB’s mother began coughing and vomiting up blood. She was soon diagnosed with MDRTB at a health facility. The year following JB’s mother’s diagnosis, the health facility conducted a contact investigation and found that JB, too, had MDR-TB. It was September 2006, and JB was six years old. JB, an honors student, had to stop going to school and instead focus on taking the second-line TB drugs and dealing with their side effects.

Initially, JB’s family had trouble making their meager family budget meet JB’s daily transportation costs to get to and from the health facility. Support from the Global Fund, in the form of a transportation allowance, eased the financial burden of JB’s treatment on his family. Further support was received from a community leader, who offered JB and his mother temporary housing closer to the health facility. Eventually, the health facility agreed that JB could continue his treatment under the observation of a public facility closer to his home. In addition, a food basket was provided for JB each month to improve treatment tolerability and adherence.

JB’s mother offered encouragement throughout her son’s treatment. JB’s mother gave him daily consolation prizes for treatment compliance and made sure that despite the intensity and long duration of JB’s treatment, he still had time to play and mingle with friends.

Two years later, at the age of eight years old, JB completed treatment and exclaimed, “at last!” JB is now 13 years old and in his first year of high school. He is still an honors student and receives education assistance from his school for displaying a positive attitude and commitment to his studies.

Story Collected by: Lung Center of the Philippines; Implementing Arm for Programmatic Management of Drug-Resistant TB (PMDT), Republic of the Philippines; National TB Control Program (NTP), Department of Health, Republic of the Philippines