One-on-One with TB Advocate; Timpiyian Leseni
Interviewer: Tell me about yourself.
Timpiyian: I am Timpiyian Leseni from a family of seven including my parents, I am the third born of six children. I am a computer technician by profession but I changed my career to TB advocacy after suffering zoonotic tuberculosis which is contracted from animals.
Interviewer: When did you first get exposed to TB? (affected/ infected)
Timpiyian: I got exposed to abdominal TB in 2011. It was after undergoing several surgeries that the doctors diagnosed me with Zoonotic TB. When I inquired how I got it the doctors told me it could have been through taking blood, drinking milk that is not boiled plus eating meat that is not well cooked.
Interviewer: What was your biggest challenge during this period?
Timpiyian: The process of diagnosis was very trying. As I mentioned, I had to undergo several surgeries before I was diagnosed. It took a toll on me both physically and emotionally.
Interviewer: How did your brush with TB change/impact your life?
Timpiyian: TB transformed my life completely. I changed my career and started TB advocacy which I knew nothing about. I started tracing patients who interrupted treatment and returning them back to treatment. TB made me fall in love with TB patients, sharing with them my experience and being there for them the same way my family was there for me. I will move mountains to see a TB patient get cured.
Interviewer: How did you get involved in TB advocacy?
Timpiyian: I got involved in TB advocacy when the doctors told me that I got TB from animal products. Immediately I started thinking about my community i.e. the Maasai community do they know that they can get TB from their staple food milk, blood and meat plus do they know that TB it is curable.
Interviewer: What message do you have for people infected/ affected by TB?
Timpiyian: I will tell them to follow the doctor’s instruction and adhere to medication. For those affected, I would advise them to encourage TB patients and continue being there for them.
Interviewer: Final remarks?
Timpiyian: Everybody needs to be informed about both pulmonary and extra-pulmonary TB.
Thank you for sharing your story Timpiyian!
By: Njango Njung’e