The first ever poll of TB patients and their families was conducted in Tajikistan. The goal was to learn about their attitude to outpatient treatment and develop recommendations concerning implementation of the new model of TB care in the country.
The poll was initiated under regional project “TB in Easter Europe and Central Asia Project on Strengthening Health Systems for Effective TB and DR-TB Control” (TB-REP) of the National STOP TB Partnership in Tajikistan chaired by NGO “Young Generation of Tajikistan”. Workers of the National Partnership conducted individual interviews with TB survivors or patients (320 persons) and their relatives (80 persons) in four rayons of the country. The survey was conducted both in various healthcare institutions and at homes of the interviewees, whose identity was protected.
It is worth noting that sometimes TB patients and their family members have very different opinions. About 90% of the patients would prefer receiving outpatient treatment, while only 40% of their relatives believed this mode of treatment was acceptable considering the existing system of TB service in Tajikistan.
Beside the key question concerning patients’ attitude to outpatient treatment, the questionnaire developed by the NGO contained questions on the main problems the patients and their families encounter with regard to TB diagnostics and treatment. This allowed determining the key reasons of late presentation with TB, interrupted treatment, problems in receiving social support and other factors affecting effectiveness of TB treatment.
Based on the information received in the course of the study, recommendations aimed at improvement of some aspects of control over TB in Tajikistan were developed. They concern, particularly, funding and organization of TB services, active involvement of primary care institutions in diagnostics and treatment of TB cases, training and advanced training of medical workers to improve their competence in the field of TB, etc. Special attention in the prepared document is given to recommendations on implementation of patient-centred modes of treatment proven, effects and benefits of which have been scientifically proven and practically tested in many countries affected by TB epidemic. The recommendations were discussed at the dedicated round table involving members of healthcare community, patients, and NGOs. Approved recommendations were submitted to the Ministry of Health of Tajikistan.
Conducting of the poll involving patients and their families, as well as treatment and analysis of the information provided the opportunity for a broad discussion of the problems and possible solutions. Civil society organizations play an important part in engaging all the stakeholders, including public decision-makers, in solution of the TB problem. This includes, in particular, organization of patient-centred care. The most important finding of the organizers of the poll was in the need to make effort to raise the awareness (at all levels — from general public to government) of the essence, benefits, and opportunities of implementation of patient-centred models of TB care.
The poll and the round table were the result of work conducted by the National STOP TB Partnership in Tajikistan chaired by NGO “Young Generation of Uzbekistan” under the regional TB-REP project.
Source: TB Europe Coalition