'When we visited Adi Jamos, a kebele in Wolkait, Tigray region, the health extension worker informed us about a patient who defaulted from VL treatment. He was a 13 years old male who was treated for VL 2 years earlier in Abdurafi health centre, run by MSF. He was diagnosed with a VL relapse a month ago and started treatment in Shire hospital. Unfortunately, he discontinued his treatment after 7 doses', says Dr Cherinet Adera, Clinical Coordinator in Ethiopia working with KalaCORE/AdS.
His mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer and was critically ill. His grandmother couldn’t afford the cost of treatment for both her daughter and her grandson so she took her grandson out of the hospital before he finished his treatment for VL. The grandmother sold her cows for the treatment of her daughter and spent all her savings, and had no money left to pay for the cost of the treatment of her grandson. Additionally, there was no one who could provide care for her critically ill daughter. She became hopeless and decided to wait for the death of her daughter and grandson at home.
Furthermore, her other grandson was chronically coughing and he was living in the same room as the family.
'I went to their house and observed the real poverty and hopeless people together. The mother was severely emaciated and bed ridden with severe pallor of the conjunctiva. The child had huge splenomegaly with very pale conjunctiva and wasted. The elder brother was wasted and was coughing'
We met the head of the kebele and discussed the family’s situation with him. He was giving priority to the mother and was collecting money from the residents but only 200 birr (9.1 dollar) was collected. The mother died a day after our visit. We then provided financial support for the family and communicated with health professionals working in Shire hospital (the nearest hospital) and MSF. The child with VL received full treatment and was discharged as cured.