"We must involve, engage and invest in the affected community to build it up. We need to have empowered TB patients, to form community groups (as we have in PLHIV) to disseminate the right information and to ensure that government schemes reach the affected people. Unless there is treatment literacy in the affected community, challenge of treatment adherence cannot be overcome. I should be popping my pills not because the doctor says so, but because I know how important it is for me," said Loon.
One thing that came out clear and loud was that the patient should be central to the programme. There is a dire need for proactive TB patients groups to be there and to be involved with planning, implementation and monitoring. Real TB champions/advocates need to reach out to affected community. But then as Blessina Kumar said, "For affected communities to inform policies, they need to be empowered and have information/knowledge. For this we need to invest in them."
Shobha Shukla, CNS
(The author is the Managing Editor at CNS. Follow her on Twitter: @Shobha1Shukla or email: shobha|AT|citizen-news.orgEmail address)
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