P1090701

 

Treating TB - keep on going

 

People who have developed TB disease, will have to start treatment. The treatment for TB is free and available at all hospitals in Tanzania. The treatment takes six months and patients can choose to get their dose at their health facility every day, or to take their dose at home. Mukikute supports over 600 patients per year to take their daily medication at home. We are supporting people in their treatment by using experienced former TB patients:

 

1.    Six months support
It takes six months for the treatment to work, and all this time a patient needs to be supported. Mukikute members help patients take their medication every day, they help them to fight stigma, to open up to their families about their disease and to create family support for the individual patient. They also make sure all the family members get tested.

 

2.    Routine
People need to stick to a routine to make the treatment work. Mukikute members help them to stick to their medication, help them to show up for follow up tests and to stick to a healthy diet. Especially for high risk groups for TB such as drug users, sex workers, men who have sex with men and/or people living with HIV this can be a challenge and support is needed.

 

3.    Side effects
The medication has side effects, such as feeling sick or dizy, skin rashes or flu like symptoms. Depending on the medication and the person they can be more or less severe. Some people stop the treatment because of sometimes severe side effects, or because they develop jaundice (yellow skin/eyes). Mukikute members have experience with the treatment and help patients cope with these side effects. They know for example when it is possible to change the medication, and will do everything they can to prevent people to quit their treatment.

 

4.    Information and guidance
Good information and support is vital while being on treatment. That's why Mukikute has treatment supporters.  Mukikute has also developed a booklet for TB patients that answers all the questions they might have about the treatment, based on the experience of our members. Mukikute's treatment supporters read the booklet together with the individual patient to make sure they have all the information they need. Unfortunately there are not enough copies to serve all patients in Tanzania, and Mukikute is advocating to print 64.000 copies each year. 

 

 

Treatment support helps

Mwakali Longinus Lawaya (28): 'I discovered I had TB two months ago. I got it at my work in a plastics factory, where many people are working in closed rooms and where there is a lot of steam. Also other people there were infected. I started my treatment at Yombo hospital and Donald Paulo Nchimbi is my treatment supporter. He comes every day to bring me my medication, and once a week I go to the hospital for check ups. Donald told me about the treatment and is there for any question I might have. This way I'm sure I'll finish the treatment. Already I stopped coughing and my legs stopped hurting. We are lucky, because I didn't infect anyone else at home.'