Rose’ story of poor housing conditions and risk of TB infection

Rose’ family at her house during a contact tracing follow up visit by the KMET team

She wakes up very early in the morning to prepare breakfast for the seven children she lives with in her house at one of Kisumu’s informal settlements. She then kneads dough that she will later on use to make chapatti by the roadside.
Rose a 38 year old single mother lives in Nyawita where she cooks and sells chapatti for a living. The mother of two; eldest child 10 and the youngest 2years, is also HIV positive and shares the predicament of most slum dwellers in terms of housing.
Rose’ house is nothing different from most of the houses in her neighborhood, it’s not only modestly limited in space but has neither windows nor ventilation. Rose is a mother of two but lives with four of her elder sister’s children together with a younger sister who also has a child.
In the year 2006, Rose was diagnosed with TB after she could not bear a persistent cough and tremendous weight loss despite using antibiotics that was prescribed for her in a pharmacy.
She dutifully took her medication for eight months and recovered.
Eight years down the line, she was spotted at the roadside where she cooks chapatti by a KMET community health worker (TB Agent), Damaris Akinyi, who had noted that Rose had been coughing for a while.
Damaris booked a date with her and together with KMET’s TB Reach Programme Officer, Adriano Ngaywa’’, they paid her a visit in her home.
Rose and her younger sister were given a health talk, screened and they happened to present TB symptoms like chest pains, sweating at night and coughing.
They were referred to KMET’s Corkran clinic for further lab tests where Rose was once again found to be TB positive and immediately initiated into medication. Her sister on the other hand was negative.
Given the nature of their house and the number of occupants, the children were at high risk of getting infected hence they were later screened too and fortunately they were TB negative.
Rose say she is not ignorant about the importance of proper aeration in TB prevention and her only plea is to the landlords of the slum houses to install windows since even if she wanted to, she cannot afford well built houses. Adriano says the area is considered a key population since statistics show that majority of the residents are HIV positive weakening their immune system hence making them susceptible to TB infection.
In the subsequent quarter, KMET has planned to carry out outreaches in the area and other informal settlements within the city to give TB health talks, screening and collect sputum samples from door to door.
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