Nearly 130 nurses from more than 36 countries met at ‘TB Nursing Care around the World’, a side-event held during the Union World Conference. This highly practical, practitioner-led session heard nurses from five countries share their professional experiences of delivering TB care in a range of settings, with the aim of providing support and education.
Speaking about the significance of this meeting, Linette Mc-Elroy, Chair of The Union’s Nurses and Allied Professionals Sub-Section (NAPs) said, “This meeting is vital for enabling us to learn from each other, to find out what we have in common and the challenges we face.”
Prakash Sonawane, a treatment organiser for the Mumbai TB Programme, spoke about experiences and outcomes of a low-cost mobile phone system ‘99DOTS’ to ensure treatment adherence in Mumbai, India. This approach has influenced practices for follow up and patient engagement. So far, more than 20,000 people have used the tool – facilitating treatment adherence on a large scale.
‘Is dignity integral in patient care?’ was the question posed by Carmen Lopez, a registered nurse working on research at the University of Manitoba, Canada. Lopez works on The Dignity Project which explores how dignity and personhood can improve people’s experience of care and its outcome. The study demonstrates that people receiving care for active and latent TB want to be seen, heard and treated as unique individuals.
Jojo Moyo, nurse at the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia, spoke about infection control initiatives used in TB treatment programmes in a lower-resource, high HIV prevalence setting, where 70 percent of TB-infected patients also have HIV, and only 10 percent of estimated multidrug-resistant TB cases are detected. He detailed the patient-centred initiatives they use to support infection control, including patient outreach, education, screening, as well as training for healthcare workers.
In closing, Linette Mc-Elroy spoke about the importance of sessions like this to share ideas, knowledge and experience with nurses across TB care and around the world. Saying, “The greatest resources nurses have is each other”, Mc-Elroy urged the nurses listening to reach out, talk to each other because “TB people are the best people. It is a truly united and welcoming community.”
The symposium was organised by V&VN Dutch Nurses’ Association, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and the Nursing and Allied Professionals Sub-Section of The Union, with support from The Hague Foundation to support TB control.