For information regarding COVID-19 visit the South African Department of Health or WHO websites at https://sacoronavirus.co.za or www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

CHW TB champions

A community health worker (CHW) is a representative of a specific community. They have earned the communities’ trust to enter their homes and assist them to improve their health status. CHWs provide person-centered care where they build a relationship with each household member.

Through their commitment, genuine care and passion to end TB, they are critical in reaching people with TB who are not accessing health services and linking them to healthcare.

CHWs support the commitments made by country leaders at the United Nations High Level Meeting on TB “to advance towards universal access to quality, affordable and equitable prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and education related to TB”. In April 2018, the South African Department of Health released the policy for Ward-Based Primary Healthcare Outreach Teams (WBPHCOT) to capacitate CHWs in providing equitable, rights-based and people-centered high quality TB care. Yet, no implementation plan has been released for the policy and CHWs report receiving inadequate training and poor protection against infectious diseases like TB and COVID-19.

Aims

  • To develop CHW TB champions who could advocate for implementation of the WBPHCOT policy which describes the training, compensation and support they need.
  • To develop a network and platforms for CHW TB champions to advocate for their needs.
  • To share their valuable perspectives, which can strengthen the TB cascade of care.

Thapelo Aphiri, a television star and the drama director in Hammanskraal, that helped to develop theatre plays to address barriers in the TB care cascade.

Project Achievements

We developed TB and advocacy skills workshops aimed at CHWs and their outreach team leaders. Using principles of human-centred design, CHWs used a card deck to identify local gaps in the TB care cascade.

CHW designed an intervention to address stigma as a barrier to accessing care. They used theatre to engage the community in conversations about TB and stigma. CHW TB champions presented on radio interviews and contributed to online articles.

They co-developed and presented an advocacy letter in-person to the Minister of Health in 2019 for World TB day. Partnerships with health workers at clinic level augmented CHW engagement with care and enhanced collaboration through setting up TB war rooms (multi-sectoral meetings with the Departments of Health, Social Development, Education, Agriculture) designed to improve TB care delivery and close gaps in the cascade of care.

CHWs presented their key needs to the National Department of Health to advocate for standardised high quality training and adequate infection prevention equipment alongside leading advocacy organisations in 2020. Report available here.

TB Proof developed a CHW TB Champions video where we celebrate and thank CHWs for their key roles in responding to health emergencies such as COVID-19 and TB!

Our advocacy projects

Latent TB Treatment

Some people may have latent TB – where some is infected by the TB bacteria but they do not show TB symptoms and cannot infect others.

#UnmaskStigma Campaign

Stigma is a term describing the feeling of being ashamed, or experiencing societal disapproval in the way that other people treat you.

All oral drug-resistant TB Treatment

For many years patients were given a difficult choice: die because of drug resistant TB or become deaf as a results of the treatment.

TB IPC Training

Healthcare workers (HCWs) are three times more likely to be infected by TB than the general public and six times more likely to be hospitalized with drug-resistant TB.