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Thando’s mother doesn’t worry as much about her wellbeing now that she’s in the care of the Dialysis Team at NMCH

Thando has had a long journey leading to her diagnosis of CKD. She tells the story of how she ended up at NMCH and her affinity for nurses in the unit

Nkosinothando Noxolo Dladla, better known as Thando to her friends and family, is a fifteen-year-old joyful and warm-hearted young girl from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

During the festive season in 2014, Thando’s right leg began to swell and after a few days, both her legs had swollen to the extent that she found it difficult to walk. As the rest of her body began to swell, her mother took her to a number of traditional healers and clinics hoping that Thando’s health could be restored however, the swelling only grew worse. Following a small number of visits to a couple of clinics in Johannesburg, one of which erroneously gave her someone else’s medication, leaving her swollen to the point that she could not see. Thando was then transferred to Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH).

While at CMJAH, Thando learnt that her kidneys were not functioning as they should and was put on dialysis which, in simple terms, is the procedure of doing away with excess products and fluids from the blood in an attempt to block them from building up in the body. It was in 2015 that Thando was put on haemodialysis.

Before she was transferred to Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) in 2018, Thando had first visited the hospital for a day with a few dialysis patients from CMJAH. When talking about her first visit to the hospital, Thando smiles and remembers how clean and beautiful she thought the hospital was and how all the visiting patients could not stop talking about the facility after the visit. In her own words, “Besingawuvali umlomo ngeMandela” [We couldn’t stop talking about the Mandela Hospital].

As a patient at NMCH, Thando remembers how happy she was to be at the hospital as a result of the love and kind-heartedness of the nurses that cared for her as well as the friends she made. “Bengijabulile ukuza eMandela ngoba aboSista abalana banomusa. Bayasinakekela futhi bayasithanda. Basinika konke esikudingayo” [I was very happy when I was admitted at NMCH. The nurses are kind, they take care of us and give us everything we need]. Thando remembers how the nurses made them laugh and were always happy to speak to them.

Even though she still has to come to the hospital a few times each week, Thando makes it clear that being at NMCH has helped her a great deal. She states, “Ukuba la kungincede kakhulu kabi” [Being here has helped me a lot]. 

Though she’s still waiting for a kidney, Thando’s glad that her mother no longer worries about her wellbeing to the extent that she used to and hopes that NMCH will continue to bring healing to the lives of many other children like her.