In the US, cancer is often thought of as the most arduous and dangerous of diseases, with debilitating treatment that seemingly lasts forever—like the four months I spent receiving chemotherapy for lymphoma.

Those four months pale in comparison to what Uvistra Naidoo experienced. Uvi contracted a severe form of drug-resistant tuberculosis and needed more than three years to recover. While I lost most of my hair and felt real queasy at times, what Uvi experienced was beyond the pale. In an op-ed that ran in the New York Times, he writes:

“Doctors and nurses resuscitated my ailing body, afflicted by almost every side effect known from the toxic drugs used to combat TB: Diffusely bleeding skin lesions. Liver inflammation. Severe limb pain and near immobility. Hearing loss. Depression and thoughts of suicide.”

Uvi now treats children with TB as a pediatrician with the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and the inability of modern medicine to control the TB scourge weighs heavily. Even the easiest cases to cure require six months of treatment. Throughout all the tragedy that he encounters, he wonders why such an ancient disease has yet to be vanquished.

“Drug-resistant TB can and must be confronted — but researchers and health care experts need the money to develop new vaccines and drugs.”

His piece is a must-read, and can be found at