The Tuberculosis (TB) program began in September 2006 when Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) trained lab technicians in sputum smear microscopy for tuberculosis diagnosis. They also trained community health workers as TB medics to administer tuberculosis treatment following the “Directly Observed Therapy, Short Course” (DOTS) protocol recommended by the World Health Organization. Initially, the program targeted five areas with two workers in each area, one medic and one laboratory technician.
In 2010 and 2011 further training was provided by the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) and Aide Médicale Internationale (AMI).
The goal of the TB program is to identify all persons who have contagious tuberculosis and to make sure that they are cured by completing up to six months of medical treatment. Successful treatment of all contagious patients will rid a community of TB.
Each area starts their program at different times due to the security situation. Most areas are able to start in July. TB screening entails house-by-house checks to identify anyone who has coughed for more than three weeks. Medics do screening and TB education using MSF flip charts in every village in the program target areas. The teams are assisted by twenty village health workers who have been trained by the medics to assist with canvassing and DOTS. Over the first four years of the program, almost 10,000 people were screened for TB, and 52 cases were identified and treated.