Nonhle – Swaziland

Both Nonhle and her mother tested positive for MDR-TB in 2012. They later discovered that Nonhle’s aunt, who lived in the same household, had MDR-TB but had hidden this information, which only came to light after the aunt died.  Nonhle is also HIV positive and began receiving antiretroviral therapy when she was two years old.

At only three years old, Nonhle is taking nine medicines every day. She often cries due to the bitterness of the medicines and vomits after taking them. Nonhle’s mother must cut up the capsules so that Nonhle can take them, because the pills are made for an adult to swallow and are too large for such a small child.

Nonhle is gradually improving; she has gained 2 kg (4.4 lbs) since starting MDR-TB treatment. Her mother worries about the high burden of pills for both Nonhle and for herself: she is taking 21 pills a day on top of ensuring that her young daughter ingests all her medicines. Child-friendly formulations and more integrated HIV/DR-TB treatment would reduce the difficulties of making it through treatment for children like Nonhle and their caretakers.

Story Collected by: Pilar Ustero, Global Health Corps, BIPAI/BCM and Padma Swamy, Global Child Health Residents, Baylor/Texas Children Hospital