Drug resistant TB patients get allowances
DRUG resistant tuberculosis (TB) patients are being given an allowance of $25 to encourage them to continue taking their medication over two years.
Speaking on the sidelines of a TB funding advocacy workshop attended by members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Health and Child Care in Bulawayo yesterday, Dr Kelvin Charambira, an officer at the local office of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, said his office was concerned with the number of patients who default on their medication.
He said drug resistant TB drugs are administered daily for two years which proved difficult to adhere to for some patients. “It’s basically trying to incentivise them to come for treatment, they use it for bus fares when they come for monthly reviews. Ideally every drug resistant TB patient is supposed to get the money but you then get challenges where some patients might not be registered,” Dr Charambira said.
He said the funds for the patients are sourced from the Global Fund.
Dr Charambira said TB drugs increase a patient’s appetite resulting in most of them defaulting due to hunger.
“In the management of drug resistant TB, we use a combination of different drugs. There is a total of about five to six drugs and among them there is a drug which we call calamicing, which is an injection and this one is administered daily for six to eight months. The problem is that it damages the ears at some point in time depending on the amount of dose that a patient would have taken,” he said.
Dr Charambira said they are in the process of phasing out or reducing the time taken by a patient to be injected following recommendations by the World Health Organisation.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care’s deputy director of Aids and TB programme, Dr Charles Sandy, said rural folks were the most affected by drug resistant TB as they delay getting treatment.
He said 70 percent of specimen by TB patients in rural areas does not reach laboratories due to a shortage of resources.
“The main problem is that sometimes the sample is deposited by the patient but there will be no facility to take it to the diagnosis centre. We’re relying on environmental technicians but they’re not so many,” said Dr Sandy. — @ nqotshili
Dr Charles Sandy