Mosipho gets her smile back
When Mosipho, 7, was brought to the Thabang Society in March 2009, no one knew if she was going to survive.
Both of her parents were dead and she lived with her grandmother. She had been diagnosed with HIV in January. Her grandmother didn’t bring her back for treatment after that and by the time her uncle came back with her two months later, she was seriously ill.
“She had a massive swollen abdomen, swollen legs, she had pneumonia. She wasn’t far from death,” says Dr Almud Pollmeier, a paediatrician at the Thabang Society.
Earlier hospital treatment hadn’t managed to get her complex health issues under control.
Staff from the Thabang Society took Mosipho to a specialist paediatric unit in Johannesburg where extra-pulmonary TB was diagnosed.
Mosipho was discharged from hospital after three weeks. Her health had improved but she still wasn’t on ARVs and once she came out of hospital she started to deteriorate.
“Starting a child on TB medication and on ARVs at the same time is quite a difficult treatment to take. It can cause a kind of severe immune reaction where the child can suffer a lot.
“We had to find a way of treating Mosipho because we realised we didn’t have time any more,” says Dr Pollmeier.
She says usually TB treatment is started and then ARVs are given after two to three months. But Mosipho’s condition was deteriorating so rapidly that urgent action needed to be taken.
The Thabang Society arranged for Mosipho to stay in an orphan home and to be looked after two carers when she started to take ARVs.
“We were quite lucky because she didn’t experience any major side effects,” says Dr Pollmeier. “She’s getting her smile back and she’s getting stronger and stronger every day. She’s gone back to school, back to her family….she’s getting to be a big girl!”
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