It's rainy season in Namibia, and the fields along the roads we travel are lush and green with corn and other crops. The Kavango River overflows its banks as the weather sweeps storms westward.
But here, a pothole-filled road leads to a bleak setting. Hidden away from the rest of the village of Nkurenkuru is the local TB ward. Two small buildings have been set apart to minimize the risk of spreading the disease.
The first building we come to is the regular tuberculosis ward, where patients arrive for their initial treatment and care. Co-infection with malaria is an issue here, because of the close proximity to the river and the tall unkempt grass. Each patient's bed is hung with a tattered mosquito net, not providing much protection.
Across a rocky strip of dirt lies the second ward, with doors hanging ajar and looking even more dilapidated. Here, patients are treated for DR TB, which stands for various forms of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
We came here to meet with David, the Project HOPE Field Promoter at the TB clinic. He's a few minutes late because of the heavy workload. The first thing we notice about him is that he arrives back from a home visit on a shiny new bicycle. He shows it off proudly; it’s a donation from USAID.He's pleased because it will allow him to now reach even more villagers in need, getting him from home to home and back to the clinic more quickly.
He tells us the story of a shy little girl, Miriam, who he recently brought back to the clinic. Her treatment was interrupted because her nomadic parents were no longer providing her the medication she needs. He believes that by getting her back to the clinic, where he can keep an eye on her, and making sure she is taking her full treatment of medication, he will be able to save her life. Despite not knowing where her parents are, she smiles and appears hopeful for the future.
This is just one example of the many ways Project HOPE is working to win the war against TB in Namibia and around the world. Please support these efforts. Because David and his bicycle have hundreds, if not thousands, of other homes to visit. And more children, like Miriam, to save.
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