53 year Old Jane Musongeya narrated her story of how she visited several traditional healers who advised her to drink her urine in the name of getting healed from sickness.
Musongeya was also told to take a lizard’s tail as a way of counter-attacking alleged witches who were causing her sickness.
“I tested HIV positive in 2014 before I seriously fell ill in 2016. “I had ringworm on the forehead, pain on my legs and back. I would sweat inside my hands and had a very sharp pain coming from the index finger.
“I couldn’t cook nor bath so my elder son was the one who would do all the house chores as well as bathing me though I could do few things with my right hand,” narrates Jane. The now visibly fit Jane was advised by neighbours to look for help from traditional leaders.
“It came a time that my neighbours noticed about my sickness and they referred me to a nearby traditional healer because they assumed that my sickness was caused by the ancestors who were not happy. “The traditional healer asked me to take the lizard’s tale and my son rebuked the idea.
“Another traditional healer instructed me to drink my own urine but I refused because it was better to die than to do it.
“I then decided to visit an apostolic sect and they said I was bewitched and they gave me a red cloth but nothing changed,” she says. When the pain persisted, Jane decided to seek medical attention. “I then decided to visit the clinic and came across a caravan owned by the TB Challenge.
“The nurse quickly advised that I should have x-ray done and the results came out positive for tuberculosis. “That moment is when I started taking medication and never experienced any challenge because I was already taking ARVs for HIV.
“The treatment was for six months and it really helped me because I have been fit since then,” says Jane. Jane’s case is not in isolation as there are many people who had TB faced the same predicament.
Deputy Director of TB in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Charles Sandy notes with concern with the increasing number of people who prefer consulting traditional healers when they fall sick instead of medical facilities.
“We have had stories of TB symptoms being confused by many people as witchcraft. “Hence, I urge people who have symptoms that they do not understand to visit the hospital to get treatment sooner,” he said.
Every year on March 24 the world commemorates World Tuberculosis (TB) Day to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.
The theme of World TB Day 2020 – ‘It’s time’ – puts the accent on the urgency to act on the commitments made by global leaders to: scale up access to prevention and treatment, build accountability, ensure sufficient and sustainable financing including for research, promote an end to stigma and discrimination, and promote an equitable, rights-based and people-centred TB response.