accessibility & help

Matebello's story: fighting to overcome TB

Matebello Metsung with the Red Cross volunteer who helps her with her treatment

The path to recovery from tuberculosis is not any easy journey, as Matebello Metsung will tell you.

The 32-year-old was working in a factory in the capital Maseru when she was first diagnosed with TB in 2000.

Having completed her six-month treatment, she was told she was cured. But then in 2012, while working as a kitchen maid in South Africa, she began to feel “very weak, ill and short of breath”.

She returned to Lesotho and to an appointment at a clinic in Maseru. To her dismay, she was diagnosed as having multi-drug resistant TB (MDR TB).

MDR TB is a form of tuberculosis that is resistant to two or more of the primary drugs used to treat the disease. 

It is more difficult to treat than TB. Treatment can take more than two years and involves daily injections. 

Red Cross support

Matebello, now living in the district of Mafeteng, has been receiving support from the Lesotho Red Cross for the last 18 months.

A Red Cross volunteer visits regularly to help her take her tablets at the right time and give Matebello and her family support. Getting the right support is essential for patients to complete their treatment.

“She gives information to my family to understand my illness and how they should behave,” Matebello said. “I am now determined to complete my treatment.”

The Red Cross also gave Matebello gardening tools to help her cultivate and grow vegetables. A Red Cross gardener showed her how to tend to the garden. 

“This is great, as no one was helping me,” she said.

“I am still concerned there is no staple food and I worry about if there will always be something to eat for my family.

“I still have to force myself to eat as I have a small appetite due to my illness. But no vegetable garden would mean no life at all.”

Read more on how the Red Cross is helping people in Lesotho.

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