Breathing Easy

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Ten-year-old Zachariah, in Somalia, tells the story of how he gained strength and a new lease on life when he received treatment for tuberculosis.

“It started with a cough and pain in my chest,” says Zachariah. “Then I got a high fever and I started sweating.”

“I didn’t know what was wrong and I was very scared. Our house is very close to the hospital, so my father decided to take me there. I had to take a test and see a doctor. They also took my blood, and then I waited. 

“The doctor told me I had tuberculosis (TB) and I needed treatment. 

“I lived close to the hospital, but I didn’t go home, I had to stay there. My father went home, but he came every day to visit me. They gave me pills for treatment and told me I needed to eat good food. They also gave me food.

“After a while, I was feeling better and the doctor told me I could go home again. I still needed to take the pills, so I walked to the hospital every morning to get them. I started feeling better every day. 

“At first I was tired. I couldn’t play with my friends anymore and I couldn’t go to school. It made me sad. I wanted to joke with my friends. When I felt better, I could finally play with my friends again.

“Now I don’t have to take the pills at all anymore. I still like to see the nurses and the doctor at the hospital; they became my friends. I am very happy that I am healthy again. 

Gabile Hospital, where Zachariah was treated, is managed by World Vision. It is the only TB hospital in that region. It has been open for 15 years, and from 2005 on, World Vision supported it. The hospital serves the whole region; people come here from very far away. There are 15 staff members. 

The World Health Organization says at least 1 million children become ill with tuberculosis each year. In the year 2015, about 210,000 children with the disease died, including 40,000 who also had AIDS.

Photo©2017 World Vision, Stefanie Glinski

 


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