Samuel Matebele thought his “days were over”, but six-months after completing tuberculosis (TB) treatment the former farm worker from Hartebeesfontein says he is feeling good again.
Matebele had to stop working three years ago when he became sick. He attended Delekile Khoza clinic in Tigane near Klerksdorp but was referred to Tshepong Hospital in October last year. The hospital discovered that his TB was actually multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).
MDR-TB is resistant to both of the most commonly used anti-TB drugs and requires two years of treatment. This includes several months of daily injections.
While Matebele was kept in hospital, by May he was back home with his family
“Being that ill is hectic and it’s very stressful when you don’t get better,” he told OurHealth, speaking from his bed. “I used to think my days were over, but now here I am and feeling good again.”
“I am not as strong as I was before, but having treatment made me better and has given my life new meaning,” he added.
Matebele had nothing but praise for the staff at Tshepong’s MDR-TB unit.[quote float=”right”]”Having treatment made me better and has given my life new meaning”
“They are passionate, helpful and kind,” Matebele added. “They gave me a reason to fight back against the disease.”
Evelyn said her only regret is that her father was not diagnosed sooner.
“It’s important to visit health care facilities often,” she said. “If we had, we might have discovered earlier what was wrong with my father.”
Smoking is a risk factor for developing TB but Matebele’s daughter Evelyn said her father never smoked. Her father’s illness has taught her that risk factors do not always predict who develops TB.
“Prevention is better than cure, but it’s not just smokers who get TB,” she said.
Tshepong Hospital’s 98-bed MDR-TB unit has been fully functional since April 2011. Almost 3000 patients have been treated there in the unit’s three years.