KIGALI - Over 80 members of civic groups for people living with HIV/Aids as well as community health workers from Gasabo District were, last week, sensitised on ways of detecting, screening and preventing Tuberculosis (TB).
Health Development Initiative (HDI), with the support of United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the national programme for the fight against TB and Leprosy (PNLIT), conducted the training with an aim of reducing TB cases in the country.
TB remains the biggest killer among people living with HIV/Aids. A new study conducted by HDI and UNAIDS showed that if TB cases are detected early, diagnosed and treated, prevalence rates can considerably go down.
According to Executive Director of HDI, Dr. Aphrodis Kagaba, the two-day training workshop, which ended on Friday, was aimed at equipping members of civil society and community health workers with basic knowledge on TB, particularly on detecting, screening and treating the killer disease.
“We wanted to create awareness among these groups on Tuberculosis and HIV/Aids and the connection between the two diseases. Civil society groups and community health workers can play a vital role in sensitising masses about TB and how it spreads,”
“They can also play an important role in the prevention and treatment of the disease, not only in their families but also in the societies they live and operate in and all Rwandans so that no one dies of TB,” Dr. Kagaba said.
Kagaba said that lack of basic knowledge on the disease among the society and among people living with HIV results into many people getting infected with the disease while those who do not treat it develop more complicated TB related cases.
He, however, said that if society members and community health workers became vigilant, TB can be detected early and treated or prevented. He added that after Gasabo, Bugesera and Muhanga Districts will be next in line.
The study, earlier conducted by HDI, found out that the three districts have the highest TB prevalence rates.
Dr. Grace Mutembayire, the head PNILT, the national programme to fight TB, said that the participation of society members in the fight against the killer disease was imperative because they are on the “ground” all the time.
“Coordination between the groups, community health workers and district hospitals is very important because these people live on the grassroots and follow these cases on daily basis. By 2012, Gasabo should have achieve a TB-free status,” she said.
The Director of Kibagabaga Hospital Dr. Christian Ntizimira said that Gasabo District is the most densely populated district of Kigali with over 60 percent of the city’s population residing there, which makes it hard for the hospital to follow up on all TB cases.
He however said that with the help of community health workers and members of the civil society, the disease can be controlled.
Moussa Tika, a community health worker from Kimironko said that during the training, he acquired knowledge on how to fight stigma among people living with HIV/AIDS.
Regina Nyabuhoro from Kinyinya Sector said she will be sensitising masses on the detection and prevention of TB.
After a one month’s evaluation, the trainees will be awarded certificates.