What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is a devastating disease and the leading cause of death in Timor-Leste. TB is caused by an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It most commonly affects the lungs and can present with chronic cough and coughing blood but it can also infect almost any part of the body. TB is spread person-to-person in the air, but the nature of TB means that it is usually spread through long and persistent exposure. Treating this slow-growing bacterial infection carries many challenges.
Each year, 3 million people get sick with TB in the WHO South-East Asia Region. It is estimated that one third of these people do not get the TB services they need. TB is curable, but current efforts to find, treat and cure everyone who gets ill with the disease are not sufficient. Timor-Leste has one of the highest TB prevalence rate in WHO South-East Asia Region.
According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) data published in 2017, Tuberculosis Deaths in Timor-Leste reached 1,103 or 14.68% of total deaths. The age adjusted Death Rate is 142.15 per 100,000 of population ranks Timor-Leste #4 in the world.
Timor-Leste is estimated to have the second-highest incidence of TB in the Asia-Pacific region with approximately 5700 new cases each year in its population of one million people. By comparison Australia has an estimated 1500 new cases each year. It is estimated that 720 people lose their lives to TB in Timor-Leste each year.
Bairo Pite Clinic Lanud works in collaboration with the National Tuberculosis Program/NTP. Made possible through the generous support of our donors:
Donate now to help our BPCL program combat TB in Timor:
The significant burden of undiagnosed TB in Timor-Leste, the protracted period of symptoms in those who are diagnosed and the high rates of treatment default, all contribute to ongoing spread of the disease that has seen rates of TB remain extremely high since Timor-Leste achieve independence in 2002 and the commencement of the National TB Control Program in 2005. In 2014, we received a grant from the English Family Foundation to institute a program of isoniazid preventive therapy for young children at high risk of TB disease. This program is crucial to prevent TB infection in the most vulnerable age group. In association with this important prevention activity, additional funding is needed to further develop all aspects of the program at BPCL and to build the capacity of local healthcare staff.
A transformative initiative that brings TB care straight to patients’ homes. We train local healthcare workers to arrange regular visitation and administer in-home treatment. This patient-centered program is flexible and responsive to the needs of each patient, and raises awareness to keep communities safe from infection. Children under the age of 5, who are considered most vulnerable to the disease, are given preventative therapy. Additionally, healthcare workers teach patients and their families about TB, how it spreads, and how to prevent its transmission. After the diagnosis and initiation of treatment, healthcare workers visit patients and their families every two weeks to evaluate progress and provide support until everyone is cured and protected from TB. “We don’t have to pay, we just have to drink” – mother with child on preventative TB medicine, taken as a liquid for ease of administration.
The DTS (doorstep Treatment Support, is funding by the Project Plus One (PP1) ( http://projectplusone.org )
Patients must take their medicine for the entire treatment period to reduce the development of multi drug resistant TB or MRTB. The most important thing about TB treatment is making sure the patients take their medicine every day. Geographical and economic barriers have resulted in unsatisfactory rates of adherence to the 6-month course of treatment required to cure TB. To reach the unreached or the hard to reach, the only way is the primary health-care approach, with increased focus on community awareness and engagement on tuberculosis. We plan to develop a mobile strategy to connect and educate “on the go” our devoted volunteers and caregivers in the districts of timor leste using a mobile app to send diagnostics, and patients log of treatment intake.
Learn More about MDR-TB and the END TB strategy