Building Support Systems within Communities to Prevent and Treat TB
15th June 2017
Disease and poverty are affecting millions of lives in low income communities of Pakistan. Poor working conditions, unemployment, food insecurity, stress and illiteracy are some of the key social determinants of health that, if not improved, leave a severe impact on the lives of TB patients. If a patient’s surroundings lack socio-economic support systems, there is a decreased chance of attaining desired results during or after treatment.
Addressing these issues as its top priority, IRD initiated a Psycho-Social Support Intervention (PSSI) program to provide Drug Resistant TB patients with holistic care that goes beyond just clinical management of TB. The PSSI team, consisting of Community Mental Health Workers visit households and public places within communities to engage people in discussions regarding their health and other challenges. The discussions help people to speak up and share their problems collectively as a community. This results in a friendly environment where an individual is not suffering alone, but rather, is joined by people from within their community who are willing to work together to collectively solve problems.
Using community engagement techniques, the PSSI team identifies key interventions that can help lift individuals out of poverty and have a positive impact on disease control. These interventions include mental health counseling, vocational training, life skills based education, basic household modifications to prevent disease transmission, and a well-being kit.
IRD aims to build support systems within communities so collective action can be taken to help prevent and treat TB.