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'People called me names' - Now I'm cured

By Boitumelo Tshehle | 2012-03-15 07:44:40.0

A YOUNG woman who felt her life was doomed because she had extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) says she sees a good future now that she is cured.

Mmaphefo Mohlaoleng, 23, of Khuma location in Klerksdorp, North West, was diagnosed with XDR TB in July 2007. She found out she had been fully cured in January during her visit to Klerksdorp Hospital.

She said people had distanced themselves from her. "I lived for four years crying most of my time, it was painful, sometimes I felt like dying."

Mohlaoleng said people made her feel like a bad person. "People made me to look like a living zombie, they called me names, some said I had Aids, my friends deserted me, they said I would infect them, I felt lonely and unwanted," she said.

She was doing Grade 11 when she found out she had XDR TB. Everyone at her school, including the teachers, treated her badly.

"I remember one day nurses from a local clinic called Makhaza came to the school to check if I had not infected fellow learners and the teachers.

"It was bad, everyone vowed that if they were found to have TB they would kill me."

Mohlaoleng said she was writing her matric exams then.

"I was writing business economics at that time. I want to be a human resources manager one day, nothing can stop me now," she said.

Mohlaoleng was the third XDR TB patient to be cured at Klerksdorp Hospital's MDR/XDR TB Unit.

Health department spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said the unit had a growing number of cured XDR TB patients.

"So far we have 12 initial XDR TB patients who are converted successfully and are attending the outpatients' clinic," he said.

Since the opening of the unit in April last year, a total of 1,681 MDR TB patients and 72 XDR TB patients have been treated.