National TB Programme resumes support to drug resistant TB patients

The National TB Programme (NTP) has resumed its psychosocial support to the drug resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) patients after a six-month break due to administrative challenges.

NTP Psychosocial and Nutritional Officer, Chrissy Kamanga, told Nyasa Times in an interview that the Programme had problems to continue the support because of the closure of one grant and the start of another to fund the exercise, which took some time.

National TB Programme resumes support to drug resistant TB patients

Kamanga said this affected the purchase and distribution of mostly food items like maize flour, beans, soya, milk, sugar and cooking oil to the patients across the country.

She disclosed that NTP has rectified the problem and the distribution of items to a total of 150 patients has been done and will continue.

“The programme realized that psychosocial challenges that DR-TB patients face when they stay on treatment. These challenges sometimes force them to stop taking medication despite that medical services are free of charge,” said Kamanga.

According to her, NTP responded to the challenges by providing the support to the patients in order to ensure that they stay on treatment and have a good treatment outcome.

The support is in line with the ‘End to TB Strategy by 2035’.

Godfrey Chisi, aged 40, a beneficiary of the support also DR-Tb patient from Bwaila Hospital said the support has helped him to be strong when taking his medication.

“This support has rescued most of us because we are no longer productive and we lost our jobs therefore we can no longer fetch for food while we are on medication,” he said.

But Kamanga said the support has contributed to the treatment success rate from 55 to 73 percent while death rate has been reduced from 35 to 17 per cent.

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