XDR-TB

Mildred Fernando shares her story of surviving XDR-TB at a symposium in Japan.

I never thought that being sick with tuberculosis (TB) for a decade would lead me to this purpose: being an advocate to fight and eliminate this disease--not just in my country, the Philippines, but all over the world.

I was recently invited by RESULTS Japan to represent TB patients' perspectives in the call for continuous funding from the Japanese government to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund). The advocacy activities, led by Results Japan, were in support to the Global Fund Fourth Replenishment which aims to secure financing for the years 2014-2016.

Mildred shares her story of surviving XDR-TB at an event honoring "TB Champions" in DC; Ambassador Goosby listens. {Photo: E. Delmotte/MSH.}Photo: E. Delmotte/MSH.

Mildred Fernando lives and works in the Philippines for the USAID-funded, MSH-led, Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program. Mildred spoke at several World TB Day events in Washington, DC, including at a senate briefing and an event honoring TB survivors and advocates (watch video). The interview below first appeared on the SIAPS blog.

It all began in November 2001 for Mildred Fernando when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), a preventable and curable disease which caused the death of 1.4 million people in 2011. She was only 19 years old, working on completing her last semester in college when she contracted TB from her father who sadly succumbed to it two years later.

The images of tuberculosis patients from the developing world are often painful to look at: the outlines of rib cages taut against skin; arms and legs no thicker than wiffleball bats; a wild-eyed look of fear from sunken eyes. But the image of Mildred Fernando, captured here by photographer Riccardo Venturi, turns heads toward her.

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