Reflecting on Children and TB in Kenya

By Teresa Rugg, founder of TB Photovoice

Two weeks ago, at 14 years of age, David shyly greeted me in his Kenyan community of Nyumbani, a special home that cares for orphaned children infected and affected by HIV.  It was obvious that he was in good health and was happy to have visitors as his eyes filled with loving connection with his older brother William.   William and I traveled to Nyumbani outside of Nairobi to spend the afternoon with David who had survived  tuberculosis after losing his parents to HIV. 

David had endured months of TB treatment that left him feeling sick and wondering if the medicine he was taking actually was helping him to get better.  But with constant care and encouragement from his foster family and medical community, David recovered.  To see David and his brother together, arms draped over one another’s shoulders, smiling and sharing looks that only brothers can give, moved me greatly as I know David is one of the lucky ones.  I have met the mothers whose children did not survive from this preventable and curable disease.  TB is one of the top ten killers of children worldwide.  We must continue to illustrate how important comprehensive TB care is for our children around the world,  and follow up with action by encouraging our communities and leaders to prioritize TB prevention and treatment.  David is a testament to the loving commitment provided by his local community.  Scaling up similar efforts is critical to our children.

This blog first appeared on September 21, 2011 on Teresa Rugg’s blog. Please read more of her entries here: