Every day, tuberculosis (TB) causes the equivalent in lives lost of 15 jetliner crashes.* Although TB is completely curable, in Peru, stigma and the harsh side effects of the medicine result in nearly 10 percent of patients abandoning treatment. Our project aims to decrease this abandonment rate from 10 to 5 percent by providing nutritional breakfasts along with medicine in order to foster a sense of community among the patients and reduce the side effects of treatment.
Due to Lima's extreme poverty, many of its residents are undernourished and live in overcrowded, under-ventilated conditions: conditions that make them susceptible to TB infection. Once infected, treatment is an arduous process that requires daily adherence to a drug regimen for at least 6 months. Side effects of the drugs are harsh, particularly for those who are already undernourished, resulting in up to 10 percent of patients abandoning treatment, and raising rates of drug resistant TB.
We propose to implement a pilot breakfast program in a carefully-selected Lima health center, in which hearty, nutritious breakfasts will be provided six days a week along with the patients' medicine. We believe that this program will both reduce the harshness of the side effects of treatment that are caused by undernourishment and provide more opportunities for patient community-building, thereby encouraging patients to go to health centers regularly and improving treatment compliance rates.
Ultimately, the goal of this program is to reduce negative side effects from treatment, to improve the nutrition and immune well-being of the approximately 30 patients who will participate in the pilot, and to provide more opportunities for psycho-social support for said patients in order to increase adherence to treatment.
If these patients better adhere to treatment than patients at a comparable control center, we will pitch our project model to the Peruvian government for scale-up.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
Fast Facts on Tuberculosis (TB)
Peru's Tuberculosis (TB) Profile