As Murambinda’s TB Clerk, Emmanuel understands the devastating consequences of failing to complete treatment. When he noticed that Jonah, a patient under Murambindia’s care, had not been to his local clinic to collect his medication, Emmanuel decided to pay him a visit. It took a while for him to track down Jonah, who was a roving cattle herder.
Jonah explained why he had stopped taking his medicine: “Before I was diagnosed with TB I was very scared. I had chest pain, sleepless nights, shortness of breath, I was losing weight and had no appetite – I was thinking that I was about to die. When the hospital discharged me they told me to go to my local clinic each month to get my medication, but they never had any drugs.
“The clinic told me to go back to the hospital for my medication, but it is too far to walk – 24km each way – and I can’t afford the bus fare. The thing is, I feel fine now and I have to work to make some money. I don’t need to come back for tablets.”
Patient outreach work is invaluable to understand why patients, like Jonah, may stop taking treatment. This helps Murambinda tailor their TB programme to best support people to complete their treatment. As a result of speaking to Jonah, and patients like him, Murambinda now provides:
- health education, to help patients understand the importance of treatment completion
- financial support, to help patients meet the costs of transport and good nutrition
- TB medications to local clinics, to ensure clinics have the supplies to support patients through Directly Observed Treatment.
Emmanuel made sure that Jonah’s local clinic received regular stock of TB medication and that Jonah was provided with the financial support he needed to visit the clinic for regular treatment.