Joseph Sanpong is my name a graduate from one of the Technical Universities of Ghana. I was diagnosed of Tuberculosis in the year 2013 during my Senior High School days.
Prior to the diagnoses, I have spent huge sum of money moving from clinics to hospitals within the country to get effective diagnosis of the condition I was going through after several medical diagnoses has failed me.
Due to improper and ineffective diagnoses, I have to resort to traditional medication hoping to get treated but all have proven futile until somewhere around April, 2013 when I was finally diagnosed of Tuberculosis in one of the government hospitals in the Volta Region of Ghana.
I was then placed on six month treatment regime and after the 2nd Month into my treatment, I was done with my Senior High School and have to move to my hometown.
I always travel from my hometown to my treatment Centre which is about two hours’ drive from my place of residence.
Rejection from families and stigmatization was also another problem that I have encountered throughout my treatment regime.
After six months of religious and effective treatment, I went back to the hospital for a follow up and after my lab result came out, the results shows scanty which has necessitated that I should be put on treatment cap III.
Knowing very well that I am an orphan and have no money to go to any advance hospital for effective treatment, I have resolved to take my drugs religiously as prescribed. I do recollect those days that I sometimes do take my drugs without even getting food to eat due to family negligence and poverty.
I have taken my medications with all seriously and full commitment and never defaulted in my medication. After two months into my treatment, my sputum was then taken and sent to Noguchi memorial medical research institute for further medical examination and after the fourth month of my treatment, I went back to the hospital and to my saddest dismay, I was told my sample which was sent to Noguchi was missing. What a careless and poor patient and lab management was the question that echoed in my heart.
This has really got me frustrated and I even loss confidence in the health delivering of that particular hospital. After the 5th and 6th month of my treatment on the treatment cap III, I was fully discharged based on the statement that I am now okay and has duly completed my treatment not knowing that that particular treatment was supposed to last for eight good months.
After I was discharge, I was also privilege to gained admission into the university. Happily as I was, I then mobilize resource to fulfill my admission requirements and has finally packed my things to school.
Two weeks to the end of my first semester examination in the university, I felt sick seriously and went to the hospital for treatment and upon severally medical examinations and series of chest x-rays, it was identified that I still have the Tb bacteria in my system.
My dream of becoming a great Statistician was temporarily cut short and I have to abandon my education and wait for my culture result which usually takes about two months in Ghana to be ready. After my culture result and gene expert results, it shows that the TB bacteria in my system proved resistant to the most effective primarily drugs for the treatment of Tuberculosis leading to Multiple Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) which takes up to two solid years to be treated in Ghana as at that time.
Before I was finally diagnosed of MDR-TB, I have been to almost five (5) hospitals in Ghana until I got diagnosed at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital which is the national hospital of Ghana.
My future became black to me at a very young age of twenty-two. I knew I’m due to die due to how deteriorating my condition became upon hearing the news that I was previously suffering from MDR-TB not just TB and have spent almost close to two years taking the wrong medication.
Even before I was finally diagnosed of MDR-TB, my late grandfather have spent a huge sum of money on my medical bills and cost of transportation travelling from one hospital to another.
After I was duly counseled in respective to my condition, its causes, its effects on society and the patient and the good news that by the grace of Ghana it is treatable, I was then relied of all forms of deprivation and anxieties.
I have to move from greater Accra region to Volta to commence my two years treatment regime.
Taking MDR-TB drugs is never easy as Doctors do say it. I have really went through hell in the quest of my treatment.
There are some times my drugs have to get finish and I will be moving from the house of one MDR patient to the other to solicit for their help in borrowing me some of their drugs.
It got to sometime when there was a nationwide shortage of drugs in Ghana and I have to travel all the way from volta region to Korle-Bu Teaching hospital in the quest of getting drugs.
I also suffered from various forms of Drug reactions which I also spent a lot of money on. I developed rashes all over my face and chest region. I went to about two hospitals in the volta regions of Ghana for which the actual cause of the rashes cannot be ascertained and I later have to travel from the Volta region to NTB Ghana and upon several medical examination, it was confirmed to be attributed to one of the drugs which I was taking.
I cannot recount all the hardships and frustrations I have gone through without thanking God almighty and acknowledging the effort of Madam Francisca Zigah, Pharmacist at the chest clinic department of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital who through her moral support and benevolence, I was able to complete my MDR treatment regime and my university education.
To conclude, I want to encourage any TB and MDR patients reading this piece to note that MDR-TB is treatable and taking their drugs effectively and religiously as prescribed is very key to their wellbeing. Also, is one thing taking your drugs religiously and another thing getting treated of MDR-TB.
They should not substitute their medication with prayers. God will heal you once you take your drugs as prescribed.
Aside the financial loss their they will incur throughout the cost of their treatment, they should also be firm not to stop their treatment because of the stigmatization that will be meted out to them by even medical officers and the nurses that will be attending to them.