The sound of coughing fills the short passageway outside the female ward of Scott Hospital in Morija, Lesotho. Apart from the nursing staff here in the ward there are no visitors among the neat row of beds. The beautiful landscape of majestically rising mountains and mottled green fields is visible through the windows, but the patients in this ward are all in a serious condition, suffering from tuberculosis (TB) – the number one cause of death of people living with HIV in Lesotho.
Mampho Ratsese, aged 57, is one of the co-infected with TB and HIV patients in ward and one of the most recent patients seeking treatment. Last month, when she first came to Scott Hospital she was showing all the classic symptoms of TB – the night sweats, incessant coughing, fever, and breathlessness. On the same day, a chest x-ray soon revealed the TB infection located in her pleural cavity, just outside the lungs (also known as extra-pulmonary TB pleural effusion). The TB infection causes excessive fluid to accumulate in the area surrounding the lungs, which severely impairs breathing.