TB Prevention Therapy (TPT) has been demonstrated to be a cost-effective method to reduce morbidity, mortality and tuberculosis (TB) incidence among PLHIV and household contact of communities affected by TB. The recognition that TPT provision for PLHIV is an integral part of quality HIV care is the first step required in ensuring that the 2018 UNHLM TPT targets are achieved by 2022. This requires serious commitments to be made to address anticipated barriers and scale-up of TPT in Ghana.
In Ghana, rifapentine-based regimens are now included in the national Latent TB Infection (LTBI) guidelines. In 2019 a total of 1700 people were placed on TPT in 10 selected hospitals and the country intends to scale up TPT/3HP under the Global Fund new funding mechanism (NFM3). However, to do so, the national HIV/TB programmes must confront the pervasive perception that barriers to TPT scale-up are insurmountable. Among the gaps in TPT and the newer formulations is the scale-up of the little knowledge on TPT interventions amongst community members, TB affected communities, treatment supporters and client adherence to the IPT.
Under phase 2 of the IMPAACT4TB grant, Ghana National TB Voice Network has trained 50 adolescents and mentor mothers in Accra and Kumasi to serve as Volunteers and Ambassadors. The training was organized in collaboration with the National Aids Control Program and National TB Control Program.
The objectives of these interventions were to create demand for the uptake of TPT among PLHIV and TB youth and mentor mothers within their communities. The objective of the training was to build their capacity and increase their knowledge on TB Preventive Therapy (TPT) and 3HP. One community member felt as though “taking Isoniazid every day for six months is a challenge because most clients can’t adhere to the therapy”. These perspectives have strengthened demand creation on the importance of TPT.
After the training, one of the youth ambassadors commented that “we have to educate our community members on the impotent of TPT and encourage them to go for the shorter regime 3HP.” Another mentioned the fact that there is a need to increase knowledge on TPT (3HP) at the various health facilities and among key populations across the country.
After the training, the volunteers and the mentor mothers have been able to reach out to many of their peers with the right information about TPT/3HP at the various centres and through media both TV and radio.
The landing of the 3HP commodities in Ghana will continue to strengthen the project’s efforts. These commodities will ensure that the demand creation efforts will meet the supply of the newer rifapentine-based regimens. We will continue to support our partners, government and ensure that community demand is prioritised.
Written by Jerry Amoah-Larbi