Tuberculosis Active Case Finding
Location: 3 districts of Bolikhamxay Province: Bolikhan, Pakkading and Pakxan
Duration: 2018 to 2020
Beneficiaries: Communities of 63 villages
Implementing partners: HPP Laos is a sub-recipient under the National TB Centre, Ministry of Health. The project is part of a nation-wide TB programme with 5 implementing organisations as sub-recipients.
Donor: The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Project objective: To reduce the TB burden in Lao PDR as per the National TB Strategic Plan 2017-2020 and the WHO End TB Strategy.
The project aims to raise awareness of TB in rural communities in Pakkading, Bolikhan and Pakxan Districts of Bolikhamxay, to identify presumptive cases through screening and contact tracing, and to refer them to be tested in Health Centres for diagnosis. People affected by TB receive treatment adherence support through training on TB, improved nutrition to facilitate recovery and improve overall health, and the establishment of psychosocial support structures at household level. The TC TB project is based on HPP's Total Control of the Epidemic approach.
Our Field Officers work together with local Village Health Workers on all project activities. Villagers learn about symptoms, transmission and treatment of TB at awareness raising meetings. Field Officers and Village Health Workers conduct household screenings in areas of high TB prevalence and connect presumptive TB cases with the public health care system for diagnosis. To this end, field staff and Health Centre staff collect sputum samples at village level and arrange sample logistics to district or province level laboratories. Many villagers with symptoms do not recognise them as TB symptoms and struggle to access health care services due to long distances and associated costs.
The Field Officers and Village Health Workers support all people diagnosed with TB throughout their recovery journey. To this end, patients' families and peers are encouraged to provide support. For instance, patients and two nominated family members or friends form a group, a so called TRIO, in which the latter ensure daily medication intake of the patient and provide psychosocial support. TRIOs learn about the importance of nutrition and receive seeds and ducklings to grow vegetables and raise small animals. The aim is to boost and strengthen the patients’ immune systems for a quick as well as holistic recovery process, and the overall establishment of a healthier lifestyle.