The idea of peer support work is that people with tuberculosis should meet and be supported by someone who has experienced the disease and recovered. Experience shows that this is very valuable to people who are sick, and many patients tell us that it was not until they had contact with a peer that they started their rehabilitation process in earnest.
An important supplement
Meeting a peer provides support that is difficult to receive through the public health service. The former patient’s experience-based knowledge of the disease distinguishes itself from the technical knowledge of health personnel. Patients experience that talking with someone who has this type of knowledge provides particularly good support. Therefore peer support work is an important supplement to care from the public health service.
For patients who come from countries where many people die from tuberculosis, contact with patients who have come further in treatment, or who have recovered, can in itself be very motivating.
How former tuberculosis patients are involved and what support they provide varies from country to country. In some places they are primarily discussion partners, elsewhere they are treatment assistants or volunteers in a clinic.
Peer support service in Norway
The peer support service in Norway is based on voluntary efforts from former tuberculosis patients. This work is based on certain important principles:
- Peers have a duty of confidentiality.
- Peers meet the patients as equals.
- Peers shall not act as experts.
- Peers shall have dealt with their own feelings and situation and have the necessary distance from their disease.
Or call the tuberculosis line at: +47 22 79 92 00