In Peru, progress against TB

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

On a foggy July morning in a shantytown on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Hilda Matos waited impatiently for the nursing technician who gives her daily injections and medicine to treat the disease that has had hold of her for the past eight years.

A mother of four and a former housemaid, Matos, 44, has extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis, an ailment that until recent years was considered a death sentence.

But through pioneering work developed by Socios En Salud, the Peruvian branch of Harvard-supported Partners In Health, which began treating multidrug-resistant TB with a community-based model, Matos’ fate can be different.

“I was dying,” she said. “I was so sick I couldn’t eat or move. And when people came to help me, that gave me support and strength to fight off the disease.”

What changed Matos’ prospects was a novel protocol in which trained community health workers visit patients in their homes to make sure they take their medication until they are cured.

Source: Harvard Gazette (link opens in a new window)

Health Care