The United Nations just released the following video concerning Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in Swaziland (MDR-TB). In the rural Lubombo Lowveld where Cabrini works, this is a particularly troubling issue.
While this video shows an entirely different area of the country than where Cabrini is based, the issues and responses are entirely the same. MRD-TB is extremely dangerous, easy to transmit and requires months of treatment. It can develop out of “regular” TB or can be passed on directly. Patients with MDR-TB have to take extreme precautions to avoid transmission and must dedicate themselves to extensive treatment. As pointed out in the video, this is difficult considering the limited resources in much of Swaziland.
Local experts predict that in the coming years, MDR-TB will become the dominate strain of Tuberculosis in the country. This means more deaths, more expensive treatment, and higher risks for populations that have already been decimated by the HIV crisis.
While most of the patients treated by Cabrini Ministries are HIV+ clients, a growing number receive services for TB. In 2011, there were 125 people who received TB treatment. As outlined in the video above, adherence is essential and that often means traveling deep into the bush to provide medication and other health care related services. This work is labor and cost intensive considering the rugged rural setting we operate in. Yet, because with HIV and TB, adherence is essential part of stopping the epidemic we are dedicated to reaching our clients regardless of their location or situation. This includes setting up remove refill locations as well as sending adherence specialists and outreach nurses out into the communities on a daily basis.
If you would like to know more about work related to Tuberculosis or would like to donate to help support our work in this area, please contact us at email@example.com or click on the DONATE button above.
Note: Nathi Gumede, who is quoted in this video from the Red Cross, serves on the Board for Cabrini Ministries Swaziland. We are grateful for his service to our organization and the country as a whole.