Nomsa is 24-years old and has had five children including two sets of twins. On November 19th (which happens to be my birthday) she gave birth via C-section to twin girls whom we call Leah and Rachel. Nomsa was very sick and was sent home to her mud hut to care for her newborn babies, but she could not care for them. Nomsa was “co-infected”, a term that I hear a lot now, but had never heard six short months ago.
It is said that 70% of all people living in Swaziland have active or inactive TB. It is estimated (but not confirmed) that 30% of all Swazi’s have Multi-Drug Resistant TB. What is that you ask? Drug Resistant TB is a type of TB that does not respond to the “normal” drugs given to TB patients. A resistance usually comes from the patient not finishing the full TB treatment because they couldn't afford it, couldn’t get back to the clinic regularly or just decided to give up. When they go back on TB medication they may have to try different ones (maybe less effective, more side effects etc) to get well. Multi-Drug Resistant TB is when you are resistant to multiple TB drugs, which is very serious and it is hard to be treated. Because the TB problem is so big in Swaziland (also the country with the highest HIV rate in the world) there is an extensive program through the Ministry of Health to help TB patients through Home-Based Care. The Home-based Care worker is the one who notified the Social Welfare office to say that the twins had to find a home while the mother went to the hospital to live… or die.