Stories

 {Photo credit: MSH staff.}A lab technician in the DRC’s Kasaï Oriental Province who received training on HIV-TB co-infection.Photo credit: MSH staff.

People living with HIV or tuberculosis (TB) face many health challenges, but when infected with both of these diseases, their struggles multiply, because each disease accelerates the other’s progression. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is ranked eighth among countries reporting the highest rates of HIV/TB co-infection. To manage the burden of care at such a level, countries must have well-trained staff in a health system that takes an integrated approach to care and treatment.

 {Photo credit: Rita Tumuhairwe/MSH.}Nile Breweries donated 36 cases of water to TRACK TB-supported hospitals. Purified water helps TB patients stay hydrated during treatment. Photo credit: Rita Tumuhairwe/MSH.

Nagayi Efrance became infected with tuberculosis (TB) in 2012. Although she attended local health facilities for treatment, the TB medicine did not heal her and often left her feeling nauseated and unable to eat. When Nagayi tried to take the TB medicine on an empty stomach, she felt even worse. Eventually, she stopped taking treatment and developed multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB), a strain of TB that cannot be treated by first-line anti-TB medicines.

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

The Gender Directorate’s mandate is to ensure that gender is mainstreamed throughout the ministry of health in Ethiopia. This is a very difficult and important mandate. Building our capacity is the first step to fulfill this responsibility. We must plan, design, advocate, implement and monitor interventions to mainstream gender, and this requires leadership, knowledge, awareness, and skills.

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