Lewis' Story

Meet Lewis

Meet Lewis

Where are you from? 

Nairobi, Kenya. 

How long have you worked for Keheala?

I have worked with the company since December 2015. 

What attracted you to the position?

When I had the opportunity to work with Keheala I did not have to think twice about it because I considered it an opportunity to help people of various backgrounds who had the same problem I had previously. I understood the effort needed to take the medication daily at the exact same time for six or more months. How TB can affect one's social life and work. The 'shame' that comes with having to accept that you have the disease, as well as going beyond to ensure that those close to you do not get infected by TB.

I consider my experiences with TB an integral part of my work at Keheala. It is important to bridge the gap with patients on a personal level in order for them to understand that people do care about their well being. That TB is treatable not only as an individual task, but also the community’s responsibility.

What is your experience with Tuberculosis?

My first experience with TB was when someone very close to me contracted the disease. At the time we were living together, sharing a room and I was their treatment buddy. During the first two months of treatment, it wasn't easy for the afflicted. He was really scared of the disease since most people have this notion/stereotype that having the disease is something that is shameful and TB only affects people with HIV. Treatment support, therefore, played a major role in helping him deal with the stigma. Helping him cope with the substantial dietary demands was also a key factor during the entire course of his treatment. At the end of the treatment period of six months, he was given a clean bill of health.

Two months later, I fell ill and already knew what the problem was due to all the research I had done from the prior experience I had with TB. When I was diagnosed with TB I took the news relatively well because I did understand the prior exposure I had could have been a factor. I also understood what was expected of me to get better. Being a treatment buddy and having TB are however two completely different things. TB can be daunting if you do not have a good support system. It takes a toll on you physically and mentally. I realised that the first hand experience was a lesson in itself on how to handle TB patients. It was then that I really appreciated the magnitude of not only the disease but also the treatment itself. The toughest aspect for me during the treatment period was how it grounded most of my outdoor activities. Being an outdoors person, it became a bit of a challenge for me to travel for long periods lest I ran out of medication for the week and could not get my weekly dosage. After six months, I was reviewed and informed I was free of TB.

What is the most meaningful part of your job? 

The ability to reach out and help more people directly through the program.

Following up with the patients and having an impact on their lives. 

Describe one of your most rewarding experiences with Keheala. 

Receiving calls from patients who are thankful for the service provided by Keheala. Some people who are also affected by HIV plead to have Keheala by their side to offer support with their ARV treatment. 

Where do you see Keheala in the future?

I see Keheala's services being an international standard practice when it comes to the treatment of TB to ensure drug adherence in patients.