Amref Health Africa partners with WHO to encourage integration of TB into various programmes

Amref Health Africa and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently launched ENGAGE-TB.  This is an approach that seeks to integrate community-based TB activities into the work of NGOs and CSOs. To this end, a 5-day training workshop was held at the Amref Health Africa International Training Centre between 10th and 14th February 2014 and was facilitated by both Amref Health Africa and WHO experts.

The workshop was attended by 17 leading consultants from various community-based programmes from around the world. The countries represented were; Kenya, Canada, India, Zimbabwe, Tajikistan, Guinea, South Africa, Nigeria, Japan, Jamaica and Nepal.

Speaking on the first day  of the workshop, Amref Health Africa's Director of Capacity Building Dr Peter Ngatia highlighted the significance of community engagement in tuberculosis prevention, treatment support, contact tracing, referral and also fighting stigma.  During the workshop, the ENGAGE TB training tools that have been developed by WHO and Amref Health Africa were unveiled. Amref Health Africa took the lead role in developing a training curriculum, and a trainer’s manual for this program.

The training participants also had an opportunity to visit National TB Programmes at selected health facilities in disadvantaged communities namely Mathare, Riruta and Kangemi.  Here they learnt how NTP managers and NGOs/CSOs collaborate in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of TB through support of Community Health Extension Workers, Community Health Workers and other Community Volunteers. The participants also visited Amref Health Africa's community-based project sites in Kibera, the world’s largest informal settlement, where they interacted with and learnt from community members about their participation and involvement in the prevention and treatment of HIV and TB.

“The visits have rejuvenated my commitment to working with communities and ensure TB is integrated in everything that we do”, remarked one participant.

In his closing remarks, Mr John Damonti, the president of Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation stressed on the important role that communities can play in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of TB. He reiterated, “When you have a TB patient, you have to look at the entire person, and you have to look at the community in order to secure the future”. He highlighted the importance of fighting TB at individual and community levels.