Photo Essay: Tuberculosis Patient Reunites With Family

After six months of inpatient care in Lesotho, Nthabiseng Mokone heads home

Posted on Oct 3, 2023

Nthabiseng Mokone outside of her home
Nthabiseng Mokone is recovering from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, a severe form of respiratory disease. Photo by Zack DeClerck / Partners In Health


Care doesn’t end when a patient is discharged from a Partners In Health (PIH) facility. In many ways, it marks the beginning. The beginning of a new routine, new responsibilities, and a new type of care. 


Such is the case for Nthabiseng Mokone, a 27-year-old patient with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). After spending six months in inpatient care, Mokone recently reunited with her loved ones.    


Below, follow through photos as Mokone travels from a PIH-supported halfway facility to her home.  


Lesotho has one of the highest burdens of tuberculosis globally, with an estimated 654 cases per 100,000. When diagnosed and treated, the common infectious disease can be cured. For decades, PIH has treated patients with tuberculosis using the 5S’s model—staff, stuff, space, systems, and social support. Above, is an example of “space:” a PIH-supported halfway home in Maseru, Lesotho, where Mokone spent three months. Before that, she received care for three months at PIH-supported Botsabelo Hospital. One of the key members of her comprehensive care team is Leshoboro Marumo (right), MDR-TB community coordinator. Photo by Zack DeClerck / Partners In Health
Mokone inside the truck, as a PIH driver brings her from the halfway house to her home, about a 30-minute ride. PIH drivers are an integral part of care across all sites. They accompany patients during some of the most difficult—and happy, in this case—moments. Photo by Zack DeClerck / Partners In Health  
As the driver got closer to Mokone’s home, Mokone’s energy shifted from quiet and reserved to excited and relieved. A smile, though not visible because of her face mask, was clear because her eyes lit up and cheeks lifted. Her family members eagerly awaited her arrival on March 15, 2023. Photo by Zack DeClerck / Partners In Health
Marumo looks in the truck as he removes a food package from the vehicle. The package contains maize meal, sorghum meal, sugar, beans, split peas, cooking oil, powdered milk, and salt. Food assistance is one of many examples of social support PIH provides patients. Nutritious, calorie-dense foods are nearly as important as medication for patients recovering from tuberculosis. Photo by Zack DeClerck / Partners In Health
Mats’epang Marito, treatment supporter, and Marumo, review Mokone’s MDR-TB treatment regimen. Although she’s home and in stable condition, she will continue to take medication as she recovers. Photo by Zack DeClerck / Partners In Health
Marumo speaks with Mokone’s family about her treatment plan and how they can support her continued recovery. Prior to her return home, all of Mokone’s family members were screened for tuberculosis. Photo by Zack DeClerck / Partners In Health
Marito visits Mokone several times a day to help her take medications, answer questions, and provide support and access to care. Unlike community health workers, who are assigned to multiple patients, treatment supporters only care for one patient at a time. Photo by Zack DeClerck / Partners In Health
Mokone smiles outside of her home. After six long months, she’s finally home. Every year, PIH Lesotho treats hundreds of patients, like Mokone, for MDR-TB—a deadly, but curable infectious disease. Photo by Zack DeClerck / Partners In Health
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