Cured patients help in TB treatment in Tanzania

July 2009

Dr David Wawa speaks to a community worker in Upendo's office in Kibaha, United Republic of Tanzania.
WHO/Evelyn Hockstein

Treatment of tuberculosis involves taking tablets daily for at least six months. TB patients must take all their medications as prescribed, failing which they may not recover and dangerous drug-resistant TB strains may develop. That is why it is considered ideal for TB patients to come to a treatment facility to take their tablets in the presence of a health worker -- at least in the early, intensive phase of the treatment.

Not everyone can travel daily to a health facility, however. The closest treatment facility may be too far away. Or the person may not be well enough. The WHO Stop TB Strategy therefore encourages alternative arrangements for supporting TB patients as they take their treatment. A friend, neighbour or community leader who has been educated about the process and demonstrated commitment can take on this role with help from health services. A variety of groups in many countries are developing their own approaches to community TB care.

This photo story showcases one such initiative in rural Kibaha in the United Republic of Tanzania. Members of the Upendo Disadvantaged Group – all of whom have been cured of TB - support and care for TB patients in their community.

Read the photo story

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