Profession with a Purpose: Dorothy's Story_WorldTBDay2019

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Dorothy Wavinya, a clinical officer has worked in Athi River Level 3 Hospital for over 3 years. Athi River Level 3 hospital is located in Athi River sub county, Machakos county and serves a population of 137,211 (2009 census). During this period, Dorothy has had her high and low moments while attending to Tuberculosis (TB) patients. “Those of us who are privileged to be health care professionals have chosen our profession because we view ourselves as benevolent, compassionate, and diligent. We are not particularly special people, but we do take on enormously special responsibilities”. Dorothy said. Her high moments are when patients get cured of TB and live a better life while her low moments are when they die because of poor adherence or become lost to follow up as a result of many issues which range from social problems, stigma and discrimination within the community.

For a very long time, Dorothy and her team have been trying very hard to address stigma, discrimination, myths and misconceptions about TB through health talks and counselling at their facility, but still, patients have been reporting that they still face these challenges within the community. When Athi River sub county TB coordinator Chris Mutuku informed Dorothy about Keheala, a mobile health intervention that delivers the tools needed to overcome the non-medical drivers of disease that exist away from health facilities, Dorothy was excited and knew that her patients will greatly benefit from this intervention. For the past year, she has managed to enroll 213 TB patients on Keheala’s Adherence and Care intervention, which represents an enrollment rate of 90% from her facility.

Dorothy said “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. Keheala is always there for you

Dorothy states that she no longer worries about not being able to spend enough time with her patients because Keheala intervention has them covered and supports them whenever they are scared, sad, angry or afraid. Her work is now more enjoyable since her patients who are on Keheala intervention are more knowledgeable about TB and are free to talk about their condition not only in the hospital but also in chief’s barazas and to their friends. She said, “My patients have not been missing their clinic appointments since I started enrolling them on Keheala and this has reduced cases of lost to follow up in my facility.” She adds, “With this trend, I am sure our treatment success rate will be much better than previous years and quality of life of my patients will improve.”

It should not be business as usual if we want to win the fight against TB. Instead, we must use innovative ways to transform TB care. Keheala’s Adherence and Care intervention is a patient-centered intervention that provides support and motivation to TB patients. Patients are our partners at Keheala and our support team works tirelessly to address the patient’s clinical, emotional, mental, spiritual, nutritional and social challenges.

-Edwin-

ALICE MWIKAMBA