Sick leave

I have a very good nanny who has been with our fam­ily for over 10 years. Re­cently, she de­vel­oped a per­sis­tent cough. Ini­tially, we thought it was re­lated to al­ler­gies but when it did not im­prove, we took her to hos­pi­tal where they thought she might have a

Business Daily (Kenya) - - BDLIFE HEALTH -

The truth is, all of us have been ex­posed to pul­monary tu­ber­cu­lo­sis at one point or an­other in our lives. In fact, there are a large number of peo­ple walk­ing around with the tu­ber­cu­lo­sis bac­te­ria even though it is not giv­ing them an ac­tive in­fec­tion. (This group of peo­ple are known as ‘dor­mant car­ri­ers’ or ‘peo­ple with la­tent

TB’ – and even you could be one of them). Most of th­ese dor­mant car­ri­ers go through their en­tire lives with no symp­toms or com­pli­ca­tions of TB. This is be­cause the im­mune sys­tem is able to sup­press the TB bac­te­ria. How­ever, about 15 per cent of in­di­vid­u­als go on to de­velop ac­tive TB.

Con­sid­er­ing that you were liv­ing in the same house­hold as your nanny, then your fam­ily has def­i­nitely been ex­posed to pul­monary TB. How­ever, it does not au­to­mat­i­cally mean that you will all get TB. Some­one with TB should be taught cough hy­giene not to spread the dis­ease to oth­ers. myth. TB can oc­cur in any­one, in­clud­ing peo­ple with­out HIV.

The sec­ond thing is that you can­not co­erce some­one to go for a HIV test. It needs to be done vol­un­tar­ily. You would not ap­pre­ci­ate it if your em­ployer forced you to go for a HIV test be­cause you have fallen sick. My ques­tion to you is, ‘if your nanny is HIV pos­i­tive, what will you do about it?’ Are you ask­ing her to do this test be­cause you want to sup­port her or do you want to use it as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for ter­mi­nat­ing her em­ploy­ment?

TB treat­ment is able to sup­press the dis­ease within two weeks of start­ing treat­ment. How­ever, cure of the dis­ease usu­ally re­quires six months of ded­i­cated us­age of the anti-tb drugs. You can grant your nanny some paid sick leave to al­low her to re­cu­per­ate. With guid­ance from her doc­tor, you can de­vise a re­turn to work for­mula.

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