AstraZeneca & Red Cross: Fight against TB in Africa
Since 2006, AstraZeneca has supported the Red Cross in its community-based work to help reduce TB incidence and improve the quality of life of people affected by TB and TB/HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. With AstraZeneca's support, the South African Red Cross is delivering improved care and support to people living with TB or TB/HIV in 10 provinces, including the KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Gauteng and Free State. To date, some 2,500 people affected by TB or TB/HIV have successfully completed their treatment and over 6,000 suspected cases of TB identified and sent for screening. This has been achieved mainly through patient follow-up by trained volunteers. Volunteers also distribute TB prevention information and have reached over 60,000 people. In Lesotho, the company's support has enabled the Lesotho Red Cross to deliver improved TB and TB/HIV care to people living in the isolated, rural communities of Mapholaneng, Leribe, Mafeteng, Kena and Maseru, who have little access to formal health facilities. More than 160 Red Cross volunteers have been trained in TB management and prevention, including how to recognize TB symptoms, how it is transmitted, infection control and care, and referral of people suffering from the disease. These trained volunteers then work within the local communities to share their knowledge with local volunteers and village committees. During 2008, AstraZeneca expanded its support to include a new project in Liberia, where treatment completion rates are estimated to be below 75%. Working with the Liberian Ministry of Health, the Liberian Red Cross has developed a new program to increase TB awareness through community based education and provide support to people living with TB. Implementation began in December 2008 in the Montserrado region, building on the existing community-based health work of the Liberian Red Cross. To date, the Liberian Red Cross trained 27 community volunteers in TB care and prevention and 9 'focal' volunteers, who coordinate activity within their communities. A further 67 volunteers are currently receiving training.