Tuberculosis Active Case Finding
Location: 2 districts of Bolikhamxay Province: Bolikhan and Pakkading
Duration: 2018 to 2020
Beneficiaries: Communities of 58 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 and Pakxan Districts of Bolikhamxay, to identify presumptive cases through screening and contact tracing, and to refer patients to be tested in Health Centres for diagnosis. TB patients and their families receive treatment adherence support through education on TB, improved nutrition, and the establishment of psychosocial support structures.
Our Field Officers work together with local Health Centre volunteers 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 Health Centres 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 diagnosed TB patients 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 to the patient. 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.