Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, and every year more than 35,000 inhabitants are diagnosed with tuberculosis. The tough mountain terrain, long distances, and poor infrastructure are challenging. In addition, the country is affected by previous civil war and considerable migration of labour, both out of the country and from the villages to the cities in Nepal.
In the course of the past 20 years, the official tuberculosis programme in Nepal has succeeded in integrating tuberculosis into primary health services and has attained good results. The main challenges today are in treating and preventing multiresistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and in adapting tuberculosis treatment to the needs of the patients.
Partners in Nepal
LHL International has been involved in Nepal since 1984, and today we cooperate with the state tuberculosis programme. The funds for our work in Nepal come from NORAD.
The National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) was established in 1965 as a government programme under the Ministry of Health, and has been our principal partner in Nepal since 1996. The tuberculosis programme has developed into a well-functioning and nationwide programme that ensures cost-free tuberculosis treatment at all public health institutions in the country.
Our work in Nepal
Patient-friendly tuberculosis programme:
The long-standing cooperation between NTP Nepal and LHL International has developed from very fundamental control of tuberculosis, such as developing competence of health personnel and employees in administration, information work aimed at the population, to now also including work with patient-friendly measures and especially vulnerable groups.
NTP and LHL International have developed a model of how patients can receive daily tuberculosis treatment through volunteers instead of needing to travel to the health centre.
LHL International is assisted by international experts from the Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, among others, for an annual in-depth review of various aspects of the programme. The recommendations obtained here become part of the action plans of NTP.
In the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis, the inclusion of volunteers in the local societies is an important element. Therefore, together with NTP, we hold courses in good health communication for both health workers and volunteers.
We also support various activity and course offerings for patients who are being treated for multiresistant tuberculosis. Many must move away from home and leave jobs while they are being treated, and the offering provides an opportunity for some income during treatment.
Goals and results in Nepal
Even though Nepal has reached the WHO goal for control of tuberculosis and is well on the way to the millennium goals, there is still a way to go to reach the goal of tuberculosis no longer being a public health problem in the country. There are probably many who have tuberculosis, but who have not been diagnosed or treated. In order to reach them, more goal-oriented work must be done aimed at high-risk and vulnerable groups.