During her pregnancy Sharifa got very sick and recognised the symptoms of TB as she had had it once before.
My name is Sharifa Shomale and this is my baby Ramadhani. I live in Dar es Salaam in an area called Manzese.
During my pregnancy I fell ill. I had a bad cough and I lost a lot of weight instead of gaining it. I became very weak. As a result I wasn’t able to look after my family. I had had tuberculosis in 2008 and my symptoms were very similar this time again so I went to the hospital for a TB test. When they told me the result was negative, I got very worried.
I had to rest but I wasn’t receiving any treatment and kept getting worse. I was in very bad shape and at one point even became afraid my baby wouldn’t make it. After a few days I got a call from a lady from MKUTA. She wanted to see me and visited me at home to explain they had sent my sputum sample to APOPO where it was retested and they had found tuberculosis. She also told me it was rats who had found the disease! At first I couldn’t believe it but she assured me it was true - APOPO's lab had confirmed it wih microscopy.
I’m so happy I was diagnosed and could start treatment. I recovered quickly and now both my baby and me are doing well. When I meet other mothers with children I tell them my story and make sure they know what to do if they ever have symptoms that might suggest tuberculosis.