Village Health Workers at the centre of tuberculosis prevention in Bolikhamxay
Our Tuberculosis Active Case Finding project (TC TB) in Bolikhamxay Province works with villagers in areas of presumptive tuberculosis prevalence. A crucial element of the TC TB project is the cooperation of HPP Laos staff with local Village Health Workers (VHWs): around 100 VHWs are involved in the project. VHWs are volunteers who provide basic health services to and in their communities, and they are an integral part of the health care system in Laos where resources are scarce. At the beginning of the project, some VHWs in the target communities also received training, and now the HPP Laos team and the VHWs work side by side in the villages.
One of them, Mr Khamvone from Pakkading District, is 65 years old and a former tuberculosis patient himself. He received treatment from February to July 2018, and now he can use his expertise on a daily basis. VHWs are overseen by their local District Health Centres which are also closely involved in the project. Health Centre staff analyse sputum samples collected in the field, and potentially send them to further laboratory experts in Vientiane.
As always, HPP Laos also closely cooperates with local government authorities, which is key for the project’s sustainability. Representatives from the Department of Health regularly conduct supervision tours with our staff to monitor the progress of the project, and hold update meetings to discuss developments.