How MSF is fighting COVID-19 in Eswatini
The number of COVID-19 patients has significantly decreased in the country. Patients with comorbidities are visited at home to ensure continuity of care. Additionally, a home-based care team is being trained on critical care in preparation of an anticipated third wave.
Around one-third of adults in Eswatini are currently living with HIV, and many of them are co-infected with other diseases, such as TB. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continues to look at ways to reduce the incidence and transmission of the diseases and improve patient care. Learn how you can best help in Eswatini and other countries.
In 2019, our focus was to ensure that effective, innovative, and sustainable HIV/TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment interventions were available to vulnerable people in Shiselweni region.
The first new initiatives were the introduction of postnatal clubs for mothers and their babies, as well as clubs for youths and teens, and the establishment of health posts in remote communities. We also piloted the timely diagnosis of Acute HIV Infection (AHI), the first stage of HIV, which is not detected with routine testing, to prevent the early spread of the disease. Approximately four percent of patients who came for outpatient consultations with symptoms suggestive of HIV infection presented with AHI and initiated HIV treatment. Please donate to support our work in Eswatini and other countries around the world now.
Our teams also improved interventions in general health care at the community level, for example making pre-exposure prophylaxis more easily available for people at high risk of HIV infection and training community health workers and traditional healers to distribute HIV self-testing kits. In addition, we began preparations to integrate care for non-communicable diseases (hypertension and diabetes) into 10 “one-stop shop” HIV/TB general healthcare clinics.
We continued to work on improving drug-resistant TB diagnosis and care, including preparing for the implementation of oral-only shorter course treatment regimens (9-12 months). Advocating better treatment options for patients with advanced HIV remained a cornerstone of our work.
Additionally, the cervical cancer screening program and the viral load/TB laboratory were handed over to the Ministry of Health.