Food support helps TB patients


Oil Search Foundation’s (OSF) ongoing nutritional support for TB patients at the Kikori district hospital has resulted in more positive outcomes in the fight against the disease in Gulf.
Oil Search followed up on a staff-driven food drive for TB patients at the hospital last year by giving an additional K50,000 grant to continue the food programme.
The provision of daily nutritional meals for TB patients, especially during the intensive phases of treatment, has been a big challenge for the hospital because many patients usually abandon  treatment to look for food.
This results in the further spread of TB and increases the risk of patients developing the drug-resistant strain of the disease.
The initial food drive initiated by Oil Search and the staff has resulted in a 100 per cent completion of the intensive phase of treatment by all patients at the hospital in 2016. Following this positive outcome, the foundation donated a further K50,000 to enable the hospital to continue the
programme from January to December 2017.
The acting director for nursing services, Jasper Erinuka, said the grant has enabled the hospital to provide meals on a daily basis.
“Nutrition is a challenge for us in Kikori due to the swampy nature of the land but this OSF funding has enabled us to meet the challenge of keeping TB patients in the hospital for treatment. The mothers we buy vegetables from are also benefiting from this assistance, so we are grateful that the patients are grateful and the people are grateful,” he said.
Lucy Rose Amos, a TB patient at the hospital said that vwhat Oil Search was doing was greatly appreciated by her and the other patients.
“Many of us come from a long way to seek treatment, and good food every day is a big issue for us. Otherwise many of us would not have completed our treatment for the first two months,” she said.
“The TB drugs are strong and patients cannot depend on sago only. I know the patients are happy because they know they have a balanced meal every day.”
Oil Search Foundation head of health, Ingrid Glastonbury, said the results reflected everyone’s commitment
to reduce the burden of TB in Gulf.
“We’ve seen the positive outcomes in the completion rates of patients benefiting from this nutritional incentive programme and we are thankful to everyone who continues to contribute to this fantastic outcome.”
Erinuka said the hospital admitted an average of 23 new TB patients a month from January to June this year, with every patient completing the intensive phase of treatment.
“There’s been no default, the directly observed treatment short-course was very good and the cure rate of sputum positive patients improved from 16 per cent in the first quarter of this year to 80 per cent in the second quarter.”