Private Public Partnership and Community Based Approach to Increase Case Detection
Meet Juliana Aloyce Mwache a 35 years accredited drug dispensing outlet owner and a dispenser from Mbweni ward. She describes how training of TB had improved her knowledge and helped her customers:
The TB training was an eye opener to me it also gave me new knowledge of TB of which I was not aware of but my customers dearly wanted me to know. This made me wonder; how many possible TB cases I missed when I was naïve of TB disease.
Cough is the complaints of many of customers who visit my shop. They come to buy cough syrups and sometimes antibiotics of which I advise them to see a doctor first. After receiving the training on basic facts of TB it has capacitated me with skills to appropriately counsel and educate my clients about the disease and advise them to go for further check up at the health facilities.
I am very happy that the Government is working with us private sector to make sure our community easily access services. I have saved an old woman life due to this training the Government has provided to me. This woman lives just few minutes’ walks from my shop. I usually used to see her outside her house however she was not looking well. After some time she was not seen around and I had to ask the relatives. I found out that she was so sick and she just spent her days in-house.
I requested them for me to see her and when I did and have a talk with her I immediately sense that she might have TB.I educated the family and convince them to take her to the hospital for investigations, something which they did and indeed she was diagnosed with TB, she eventually started treatment and get cured. The lady now visits my shop frequently just to say hi , as if I am one of her family.
This has indeed motivated me to keep educating my community about this deadly disease.
Since then I have been referring clients for checkup to the nearby health facility using the skills I now have and also the Government have provided me with books and forms to record. On average I refer about 5 people in a month, and these are only those who have accepted my referrals, there are many who refuse and sometimes they disappear.
I urge the Government to make more efforts in order to help these people. The customers I send for further investigation, don’t like when they have to make a queue to wait for the service at the health facilities. If there is a way these clients should be channeled directly where they can get a quick assistance, it will be better and I think it will help to reduce chances of them being lost. Also it is important to us, dispensers to know what has happened to our customers after being referred, this will help in following up with them.
For example for those whom I have seen I continuously give them advice on the importance of making sure they complete treatment and if they get side effects I help them with appropriate advice. Also because we are not skilled health workers we often need close support and mentorship from the government officers to ensure that this what we are doing is right and channeling of customers works smoothly.
I believe if we (ADDO dispensers) take this issue as a serious matter we will be in a position to save life of many Tanzanians.