TB CARE I: Our Impact

{Photo credit: MSH staff/Afghanistan}Photo credit: MSH staff/Afghanistan

Dr. Mohammad Khakerah Rashidi is Country Representative of Management Sciences for Health (MSH) Afghanistan and Project Director of USAID's Challenge TB in Afghanistan. Rashidi also serves as First Vice Chair of the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) Afghanistan (Global Fund) and is a Senior Lecturer at Zawul Institute of Higher Education. Earlier in his career, Rashidi says he was the “only medical doctor for more than a million people.” He spoke to MSH about its TB work in Afghanistan in the context of a fragile state.

 {Photo credit: Emmanuel Kenyi/MSH}David Kolang leads a community awareness session on TB.Photo credit: Emmanuel Kenyi/MSH

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates prevalence for all forms of tuberculosis (TB) in South Sudan to be 146 for every 100,000 people.

 {Photo credit: Rebeka Nigatu/MSH.}Birhanu Weyecha, Ambo Prison Clinic Head, has seen hundreds of inmates become infected with TB and transmit the disease to others.Photo credit: Rebeka Nigatu/MSH.

Ethiopia has the seventh highest TB burden in the world. Out of every 100,000 Ethiopians, 572 are infected with TB. In Ethiopian prisons, this prevalence rate can be three to four times higher due to crowded quarters and insufficient TB control services.  In the three decades he has worked at Ambo Prison as clinic head, Birhanu Weyecha has seen hundreds of inmates become infected with TB and transmit the disease to other prisoners and staff.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff.}TB CARE I Project Director, Mohammad RashidiPhoto credit: MSH staff.

Last year, "Diwa Sahar's" work with the TB CARE I project in Afghanistan put his life at risk. Although Diwa had conducted dozens of supervision visits to the TB control team in his province, this time he discovered the team’s managers had been stealing project funds.

 {Photo credit: Giang Hoai Nguyen/MSH, Vietnam.}TB CARE I conducts on-site training to teach laboratory staff at Hanoi Lung Hospital how to safely package TB samples before shipping them to the national laboratory.Photo credit: Giang Hoai Nguyen/MSH, Vietnam.

Vietnam is one of 27 countries with the highest burden of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a form of TB that is hard to treat and cannot be cured by at least two of the primary treatment drugs. Unfortunately, the country has just two national laboratories equipped for MDR-TB diagnosis. Until recently, health facility staff had to deliver patient specimens to the laboratories themselves—often requiring laboratory technicians to travel long distances over poor roads.

Afghanistan is one of 22 countries that have been designated as having a high burden of tuberculosis (TB). Each year, roughly 11,000 Afghans die from TB--many of these deaths occur in rural regions where residents have limited access to TB screening and treatment.

Dr. Anyo takes staff and interns through a hands-on training exercise during onsite supervision. {Photo credit: Gladys Anyo/MSH.}Photo credit: Gladys Anyo/MSH.

While tuberculosis (TB) is receiving widespread attention in the global health community, many in South Sudan still consider this disease a repulsive affliction and feel uncomfortable associating with TB patients. In addition to fear and discrimination in the general population, the nation’s health professionals often avoid working with TB patients, TB equipment, and sputum samples for fear that they could become infected themselves.

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