TB Month

Time to end TB

TB month and Palliative Care.

March is a month during which there are a number of special days, all of which attract attention in one form or another from Non-profits such as ourselves. I thought I would write an article in which I try to address as many of these special days as possible.

The whole month of March is dedicated to TB awareness and its eradication with a special TB awareness day commemorated on 24 March. Together with TB, we commemorate Human Rights Day (21 March) and World Social Work Day (26 March). There are a number of other significant days to commemorate as well. However, lets focus on these for now.

Msunduzi Hospice has had a small TB programme for a number of years. Between 2015-2018 this was significantly expanded with the assistance of HPCA and funding from USAID. A programme was introduced in support of the Department of Health to encourage adherence to TB treatment, in particular Multi-Drug Resistant TB(MDR-TB). This adherence support was combined with the principles of Palliative Care which showed that Palliative Care can have an impact on people with TB. Support, encouragement, and quality Palliative Home Based Care can lead to greater adherence and can encourage people to be tested and as a result to commence treatment where necessary.

TB, like many other illness, can have a debilitating impact on the lives of individuals and their families. There is a certain amount of stigma associated with TB. This is evident amongst our own staff and volunteers, where TB screening is an annual practice and the resistance to this is rather remarkable. Stigma can often lead to tensions within the community, possibly impact on the ability to work and simply feeling vulnerable. This vulnerability is so important to address. Illness can and does have an impact on our rights as individuals and so it is with this in mind that we also mention Human Rights Day.

The 21st of March is a day where we remember the violent destruction of the human rights of many individuals and communities. Furthermore, we must remain aware of the impact that ill health has on Human Rights as well. We have a right to good, comprehensive health care that should include Palliative Care. We have a right to be free from pain and suffering caused by our illness and Palliative Care addresses this by advocating and providing for effective pain control. In everything that we, as Msunduzi Hospice do, we aim to help patients and their families through specialised care to live and die well. We may not be able to address all the gaps that our patients experience, but we do what we can with the resources available to us.

One of these resources is the skill and ability of our team of social workers. This month we also commemorate World Social Work day. The theme this year is Ubuntu – I am, because we are. The impact that social workers make on our patients is massive. This work is supported by the care provided by the nurses, care givers and memory workers. Social workers are able, in complicated contexts, to help patients and their families to chart a way through their illness to wellness. Wellness is not necessarily about getting better. Wellness is about a holistic understanding and relationship with yourself as a person, family, community who has a particular diagnoses. This wellness is also a human right, and is something we are all entitled to.

So during this special month of March. We mark a year of lock-down due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, but we also mark these important health days and celebrate the work that Msunduzi Hospices offers in response. We care because you matter. Help us to care for you.

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