CHAZHU VALLEY TUBERCULOSIS' CONTROL & TREATMENT PLAN

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease rampant throughout the Tibetan Plateau; the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the incidence among Tibetan rug-weavers is the highest in the world. The disease is found throughout the ChaZhu Valley where the Health Clinic sponsored by the TibetanAid Foundation (TAF) is located. The TAF plans to work diligently to address this manifest health problem.

The TAF is committed to utilizing the DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy, Short course) case management strategy advocated by the WHO. It is a patient-centered plan that "fits" easily into the mission of the TAF's Health Clinic's approach to treatment. Since the treatment of Tuberculosis is most successful within a comprehensive framework that addresses both clinical and social issues of relevance to the patient, it is of inestimable value that the ChaZhu Clinic has been built with the full cooperation of the valley's residents. Because the clinic is located in the ChaZhu Valley and staffed by two medical professionals and because the activities of the clinic are actively supported by the local Lamas the treatment protocol of the DOTS approach is the one that best adapts to the relationship between the valley residents and the clinic facility.

The equipment resident in the clinic and the trained expertise of the health professionals will allow (1) case detection through (a) the use of smear microscopy or (b) verification of the disease through the transportation of the patient to the nearest hospital- 30 miles -and the use of chest X-rays; (2) a standardized treatment regimen with the clinic personnel doing home follow-up if necessary using (3) an uninterrupted supply of all essential antituberculosis drugs stored at the clinic; (4) a case review after two months (utilizing sputum smear testing) and at the end of the treatment period; and (5) standardized recording and reporting of all treatment cases. In addition participants will be educated to recognize the symptoms associated with drug toxicity with instruction to report them to the clinic professionals immediately.

An education program will be undertaken to instruct all residents of the valley in recognizing the symptoms of TB. It is expected that this program of treatment outlined above will act to cure individual cases of Tuberculosis and minimize the transmission of the bacillus to other members of the family and the close-knit communities of the ChaZhu Valley. The TAF will be seeking funding from various sources to underwrite the costs associated with this important project

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