Tuberculosis is a killer disease still prevalent in many developing countries. In Kenya it is widespread, often striking HIV positive people as their immune systems are already compromised. TB treatment is an enormous burden on those already ‘down’ sick, as well as their families and communities, and we have found many clients in our project area suffering with HIV and TB at the same time – on their knees trying to adhere to both treatment regimens while being terribly ill, often lacking support, not having enough food to stomach their drugs. Sadly, there are many cases of clients in the villages defaulting from their treatment and dying.
Over the last few months our Community Health Workers have been visiting these people through a new food support program we have been piloting. Identifying fifty individuals most in need, they have provided home-based care to give ongoing support and advice, as well as porridge flour so that their clients are able to eat and have a better chance at completing their treatments. Results from this small initiative have been positive, with many clients completing their full course of TB treatment against the odds. Further benefits have included the bringing together of many families through building understanding and breaking down the stigma associated with the disease, as our Community Health Workers share information and compassion. Our manager Mordecai has reported back that “clients are extremely happy for the project for being mindful…and restoring life back in their life.”
This pilot project has given us insight into the complex issues surrounding TB, and we are currently exploring the possibilities for implementing more activities in the future.