INSTEAD of playing with children her age, Mariz, 9, is lying on her bed while coloring the books her grandmother gave her as presents. She has skipped school since last year after she found it painful to stand and walk. The diagnosis – tuberculosis of the bones or Pott’s disease, a prevalent case among children being infected by adult tuberculosis (TB) patients. It was June last year that her condition got aggravated, prompting the family to prematurely stop sending her to school, a decision that crushed the heart of the family, especially Maricel, her mother. “Gusto niya nga maging teacher sa ulihi kag mag tudlo sang mga kabataan sa amon lugar. Galing, hinali lang siya nga nag buktot kag perme na lang siya naga masakit,” she said.
For some time, Maricel diligently carries her daughter to Andres Bonifacio Elementary School II and would be hands-on for all her needs. From preparing food to assisting in school projects, she would gladly take the challenge for Mariz to feel she is not alone in this battle. In December last year, when the pain was already unbearable, the family found their way to Una Konsulta (UK) and was attended by Dr. Alvin Parreño, the facility’s medical director. The UK’s team of professional medical practitioners rightfully identified the condition and delivered the needed first aid. From scanning, X-Ray, to operating a minor surgery on her right leg and giving out medicines for her recovery, it was a relief for the family to see Mariz slowly easing from the pain. This was possible since Una Konsulta is complete with facilities and equipment needed for speedy medical attention. Maricel is a “labandera” while her husband meets their daily need through his job as a “trisikad” driver. The couple is sending two more children to school, the eldest is 15. “Maski adlaw-adlaw pa ako mang-labada indi gyapon ka bayad sa mga bulong nga kinahanglan niya,” she shared to Dr. Parreño, which prompted the Riverside Medical Team to shoulder their medical expenses. More than three months after her diagnosis, the young artist and aspiring teacher can now stand and walk short distances. In a consultation last week, the virus has already affected her posture and bones which would eventually result to more rehabilitation programs to somehow correct her situation. For time being, the child will continue with her medication up until its completion on the sixth or seventh month, a usual stance for TB-medical assisted programs. Una Konsulta’s Team is calling on parents to be more mindful. The usual prolonged cough may result to a more serious, if not deadly case, that is why, “early detection is needed to immediately stop the virus,” Dr. Parreño shared. The management of Dr. Pablo Torre, the operator of Riverside Hospital, has vowed to take care of Mariz and attend to her medical needs. There are already eager donors who wish to share their time and resources to the child as she is expected to continue her education. Mariz is just one of the thousands of children suffering from TB of the bones in the Philippines today. On March 23, Una Konsulta and Riveside Medical Center will be one with the globe in championing local initiatives against tuberculosis in time for the International TB Day, an occasion devoted to stop TB through proper medical attention. This touching feature on A-Listed this week, the flagship television program of Piaya Network Broadcasting Corporation.

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