What began as coughing, headache and body pain was really the start of a three-year journey including a two-month hospitalization in the isolation unit.
Meet Lucius. On that day three years ago, when his medical crisis began, he never imagined the hurdles and awaiting him. A 34-year old stone mason and carpenter from the mountainous region of Plassac, Lucius had contracted TB and was about to be referred to Hopital Albert Schweitzer. Upon arrival to the hospital, Dr. Herriot Sannon, the head of internal medicine, used diagnostic lab work, a physical exam and the patient’s medical history to arrive at the diagnosis.
Lucius had tuberculosis (TB) pericarditis, a rare form of TB characterized by the enlargement of the pericardium, the lining surrounding the heart. What began next was two months in HAS’ TB isolation unit and ultimately, when his condition stabilized, he was referred for monthly follow-ups at the nearby Verrettes hospital, which serves as the official government center for TB in the lower Artibonite Valley. After six long months of medication, Lucius was cured of TB but the gravity of his situation mandated monthly routine check-ups at HAS and consultations with Dr. Sannon for his heart. Lucius takes his medication three times a day, which is provided free of charge.
Did you know that tuberculosis (TB) is the second deadliest disease in the world, after HIV? And in Haiti, TB is the country’s biggest health crisis, made worse since the earthquake rocked the country in January 2010. TB affects at least 147 of every 100,000 people here. Sunday March 24 is World TB Day and we are so grateful to the World Health Organization (WHO) for dedicating a day for the world to shine a light on this deadly and highly contagious disease.
As we mark World TB day, there are surely more patients like Lucius who will land in our hospital in the coming year. Your donation can help us continue our commitment to health and disease prevention in Haiti. Join us in the fight against TB and donate today. Just $60 can treat one TB patient (this price only covers the admission, testing and hospitalization fees of the average patient) and can make a big impact. After all, in the words of a Haitian Creole proverb, “maladi gate vayan” ( “Illness spoils the most valiant”). Help us protect and cure the valiant today.
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