International Council of Nurse’s (ICN) 15-year tuberculosis project, which ended this year, has been responsible for a massive expansion in specialist TB nurses who have transformed the lives of patients and their families.
A new ICN report, detailing the work of its project, describes how it trained TB nurses in 18 countries on three continents in the fight against this preventable disease, which infects 10 million people each year, and sadly killing 1.5 million.
Over the 15 years of the project, which was part of the Lily MDR-TB Partnership, 2,318 nurses were trained in the care and treatment of people with TB and MDR-TB.
Remarkably, these expert nurses became trainers and passed on their knowledge and skills to nearly 180,000 nurses, doctors, allied health workers and community members, massively increasing the number of healthcare workers who were able to help millions of people with this debilitating and deadly disease.
The project resulted in a huge reduction in stigma towards TB patients, increased case detection, improved education of patients and their families and communities and improved psychological support. Most importantly, it created better adherence to life-saving treatment, which is often unpalatable and difficult to tolerate.
ICN President Annette Kennedy said:
“This project transformed the lives of millions of people and no doubts saved countless lives. Thanks to the efforts of project directors Carrie Tudor and Gini Williams and all the nurses who went through the training, we have vastly expanded the global capacity of healthcare systems to prevent the spread of TB and provide appropriate care and treatment.
‘Although the project has now come to an end, I am sure its legacy will live on as the nurses who were trained over the past 15 years, and all the other health workers that they trained, continue their great work in combating the scourge of TB.”
Project Director Carrie Tudor said:
“Nurses play a critical role in improving case detection, initiating patients on appropriate treatment, providing ongoing support to patients, and improving treatment outcomes. But nurses need the knowledge and tools to do the job they are tasked to do. Without this, we will not win the fight against TB. This project has shown that when nurse capacity is strengthened and nurses are informed and motivated, they will make improvements in their day-to-day practice and share their knowledge. We hope that nurses will continue to have training opportunities and capacity building. Without nurses we will not be able to end TB.”