Temporary TB Treatment Center Established Due to Damaged Institution

Jan 01, 2003 01:33 PM EST

In Kabul, Afghanistan, a guardhouse of the National Tuberculosis Institute was transformed into a TB treatment center due to damage caused to the institute from the bombings of the city. The center is now run by Medair, an international agency that administers other TB treatment centers and a laboratory in Kabul.

Over the past summer, the amount of TB cases in Kabul has increased due to malnourishment of civilians while seeking refuge in Iran and Pakistan. Because of the conditions they lived in, TB spread rapidly among the people of the refugee camps.

Care and private clinics are unaffordable, therefore it is common that people would buy one to two months supply of TB medication and cease when the symptom fades. In such cases, relapse and immunity to antibiotics may be possible. Although Medair gave their patients free medicine, the patients usually cannot fully carry through with the treatment due to their chaotic life and poverty that they sell their antibiotics.

To combat this problem, Medair gave monthly food package for the patients that followed the treatment, which includes wheat, bean, and oil from the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and the Canadian foreign banks. The nutritious food also promoted the good health of the patients.

The Medair treatment program now gives lessons on prevention of TB. Also, Medair, along with the National Institute is now working on country-wide TB control program. So far the many Afghan children have been given the vaccine. The Japanese government contributed by funding for the repairs of institute building.

In 2003, MCC plans to send more food packages to the Afghan TB patients.

By Tony C.