Learning To Stop the Spread of TB from a Peru Slum
Chemo-profilactic pills are the best protection against contracting tuberculosis, but in order to be effective they need to be taken daily for at least six months. Ensuring that children follow the treatment strictly is not easy, but thanks to the efforts of NGO's and a well coordinated community service, Peru has some of the world’s highest cure rates for tuberculosis (at 87% for all new cases and the extremely drug resistant strain (XDR-TB) at 66% in 2013, reports The Guardian).
"We go to the patients’ houses and we find the best way on ensuring they don’t abandon the treatment", says Carmen Contreras, of US charity Partners in Health, that fights to prevent TB in Carabayllo, in Northern Lima, one of the pooerest slums in Peru.
TB, which claims 1.8 million lives a year globally, spreads easily in overcrowded, poorly-ventilated and often damp homes.
Peru has the highest incidence per capita of tuberculosis in the Americas, including virulent multi-drug resistant (around 2,300 patients per year, 35% of all cases in the region) and extensively drug resistant (around 100 patients per year, 75% of all cases in the region) strains. Its reduction is slow at around 1.5% a year, and it would need to increase to a 4-5% annually, in order to reach sustainable development goal target 3.3 by 2030, according to the Wolrd Health Organization (WHO).
Parnters in Health aims for 2017 is zero deaths and zero abandonment of treatment.The NGO built a state-of-art tuberculosis detection laboratory in an old shipping container in the heart of Carabayllo. The lab is the only one of its kind in Latin America and can make 25 diagnoses a day.
Read more about TB in Peru in The Guardian.