Tuberculosis Control Programme

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) has been a major public concern for Bangladesh for decades. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Bangladesh rankssixthamong the 22 highTB-burden countries. Thus inorder improve the TBstatus, BRAC introduced thetuberculosis control programmein 1984 in collaboration with the government. In 1994, BRAC became the first NGO in the country to sign a memorandum of understanding with the government to expand directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) services across the country. BRAC also became a principle recipient (PR) of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) along with the government.. The aim of theprogrammeis to reduce morbidity, mortality and transmission of TBuntil it is no longer a public health problem.

BRAC's approach for TB diagnosis and treatment focuses on community level education and engagement. The programme conducts orientation with different stakeholders of the community to engage them in efforts to identify patients, ensure treatment adherence, and reduce stigma. The stakeholders include cured TB patients, local opinion and religious leaders, girls' guides and scouts, other NGO workers, village doctors, pharmacists and private practitioners.

BRAC's frontline community health workers play a pivotal role of connecting individuals with TB control services during household visits and health forums. They disseminate TB-specific and sensitive messages, identify suspected patients and refer suspected TB patients for sputum examinations to the sub-districthealth complex or BRAC laboratory services. The frontline health worker also ensures regular intake of medicine for identified TB patients through DOTs.The frontline community health worker refers complicated TB patients to health facilities for further treatment and for proper management of side effects and other complications during TB treatment.

Currently, BRAC is leading a group of 42 local NGOs, who are the sub recipients (SRs) of the GFATM. BRAC supervises and monitors the performance of the SRs and provides technical assistance and guidance to ensure that the quality of services delivered is uncompromised.