#WorldTBDay

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

“I started feeling this coughing… so I went to the health center and got tested. It was positive for TB,” says Grace*, a young Ugandan woman. She started on medicines, but after two months, she stopped adhering to treatment.

They told me to continue with the drugs for five more months, but I stopped.

I thought I was ok.

She started coughing again, went to the hospital, and was diagnosed with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). MDR-TB cannot be treated with two of the most powerful first-line treatment anti-TB drugs. Her treatment regimen? Six months of injections and two years of drugs.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

Azmara Ashenafi, a 35-year-old woman from the Amhara region of Ethiopia, was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) and placed on treatment. She was fortunate. Many people with TB are missed by health systems altogether. But Azmara’a treatment wasn’t helping. Despite taking medicine for months, her symptoms persisted and became more severe.

In many places, her story would have a sad ending—TB is one of the top three leading causes of death for women 15 to 44 in low- and middle-income countries.

But Azmara went to the Muja Health Center—one of over 1,600 supported by USAID's Help Ethiopia Address Low TB Performance (HEAL TB) program, and where MSH has been training health workers to screen patients for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

MDR-TB cannot be treated with the two most potent first line anti-TB drugs and infects 6,000 Ethiopians each year. To help curb the spread of the disease, health workers learn how to screen people in close contact with MDR-TB patients. All of Azmara’s family members were tested and both she and her three year old son Feseha were found to have MDR-TB.

"At the Duka" tells the story of a Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services Program (SIAPS) project to increase early detection of tuberculosis in Tanzania.

SIAPS partnered with the Tanzanian National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program to train drug dispensers on the symptoms of TB, so that they could refer clients with these symptoms to TB diagnostic and treatment centers for follow up.

The video is narrated by David Mabirizi (SIAPS Principal Technical Advisor), and features Gabriel Daniel (SIAPS Principal Technical Advisor), Edmund Rutta (SIAPS Senior Technical Advisor), and Salama Mwatawala (SIAPS Senior Technical Advisor).

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 {Photo credit: MSH staff.}Dr. Jamie Tonsing, TB CARE I Project Director, preparing to release of balloons with the TB health education messages during 2013 WTD celebrations in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.Photo credit: MSH staff.

MSH staff are commemorating World TB Day through awareness-raising activities around the globe, including in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, and Nigeria. Here are photos (some from 2013) with activities this year.

Afghanistan - TB CARE I

During this year’s World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) celebration in Afghanistan, MSH’s TB CARE I project team will reach more than 21,000 individuals with tuberculosis (TB) advocacy and awareness activities. The project staff plans to distribute over 8,530 banners, notebooks, and posters on TB control to politicians, health workers, and community members. Additionally, the TB CARE I Afghanistan team will travel to the 13 project-supported provinces to help field-based staff plan and facilitate WTD celebrations at health centers in their communities. The project staff will also support staff from the National TB Program (NTP) and other stakeholders in planning and participating in WTD celebrations at 26 schools and 600 and communities.

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