We need people – people like those in TB Alert, who are focused and ambitious and care for people at grass roots in the UK, India and Africa. Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership
Buhera alone is vast, covering 8,400 square kilometers. People affected by TB often travel huge distances for diagnosis and treatment at a hospital or one of the 28 clinics the Murambinda’s TB programme supports. As a result, people with TB symptoms often delay seeking help until they are very ill, which also increases the risk of onward transmission of the disease. People failing to complete their treatment is also a particular problem in the district, not just because of the long distances involved, but because people do not understand the importance of treatment completion.
Murambinda’s TB programme aims to increase early detection and successful treatment of TB by:
Training community volunteers: Local volunteers are well placed to raise community awareness about TB symptoms, to identify and refer suspected TB patients to local clinics, to support patients through their treatment – and explain why treatment completion is so important – and to help find and remotivate TB patients that stopped treatment early.
Strengthening project management: Many health workers in local clinics believe that only highly trained doctors have the skills to address TB. Murambinda’s programme provides training for local health workers to develop and manage TB programmes – including community outreach and engagement activities, to address the social and economic factors that limit the effectiveness of medical interventions.
Strengthening clinical record keeping: Murambinda’s TB programme seeks to strengthen TB data capturing, record keeping and monthly reporting at all clinics and hospitals. This allows them to fully understand the picture of TB in the local area, including how many patients fail to complete treatment successfully, and to avoid drug-shortages. The project’s TB Data Managers visit clinics to check registers and make follow-up visits to patients who have discontinued treatment. They also ensure that each clinic has enough stock of anti-tuberculosis drugs.
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