Support for TB patients

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pretoria - About 797 volunteers who recently completed their Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) training in North West have been deployed in clinics within their communities to provide services to TB patients.

The supporters successfully completed the training run by the provincial Department of Health and Social Development with Nelson Mandela Aventis Project for Combating TB.

The training, conducted between January 2009 and January 2010 aimed to curb the TB defaulter rate in the province.

"Defaulter rate is a cause for concern in the department since non-compliance to treatment is the major contributing factor to Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB and Extreme Drug Resistant (XDR) TB.

"Treating MDR/XDR TB is very costly as compared to treating ordinary TB. This puts a huge strain on the department given the numerous and complex public health challenges it is facing," the department said in a statement.

The DOT supporters will be assigned by TB nurses and allocated patients from within their communities whom they must assist with continuous support to comply with their treatment requirements to the end.

Twenty eight dedicated TB vehicles have been made available by the department for DOT supporters to use when visiting TB patients in their homes.

As a build-up towards World TB Day on 24 March 2010, the provincial TB management directorate, health promoters and volunteers have been busy with intensive awareness campaigns.

The campaigns, whish started on Monday focus at the epidemic's high risk areas including taxi ranks and door-to-door visits in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District.