The name of the child in this story has been changed to protect confidentiality.
Nina was an eighth grade student when she was diagnosed with TB. While living with her mother and sisters, Nina began to suffer from a persistent cough, fatigue, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, and joint pain. She visited many hospitals but was unable to get a diagnosis.
After more than a year since she first developed TB symptoms, Nina was finally diagnosed with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) in September 2012, when she had completed a treatment regimen of first-line TB drugs and she was still not cured. At present, Nina’s strain of TB is resistant to two first-line TB drugs, but her doctors are still waiting for the drug susceptibility test results for two other drugs. Nina is currently taking 11 medicines per day as part of her DR-TB treatment. She weighed only 40 kg (88.2 lbs) at the time of her DR-TB diagnosis, and since starting treatment she has gained 3 kg (6.6 lbs).
DR-TB treatment is not readily available in the remote district where Nina lives. Lack of access to second-line drugs delayed the start of Nina’s treatment. She is currently improving on DR-TB treatment with second-line drugs, with no adverse side effects. However, Nina’s health care providers point to the need for better support for TB programs in every district of Nepal so that all TB patients can avoid delays in diagnosis and treatment and access better care.