In November, we started integrating COVID-19 vaccination campaigns into our daily medical activities, mainly targeting rural communities in Shiselweni. We also supported the Ministry of Health’s vaccination campaigns. By the end of 2021, 27.5 percent of the population of Eswatini had been vaccinated.
As part of our effort to improve care for drug-resistant TB, we initiated a new short-course treatment study in Shiselweni and Lubombo regions. Patients enrolled in the study finish their course in just nine to 12 months, whereas earlier treatments had taken up to two years. Another advantage of the new course is that it uses only oral drugs, which have less severe side effects than the older injectables.
HIV is another focus of our activities in Eswatini. In 2021, we continued to work in the community, enabling patients to receive care nearer their homes, thus avoiding traveling long distances, and exposure to COVID-19. Patients can pick up their antiretroviral drug refills and access other HIV services, such as testing and chronic care, at these community delivery points. This approach strengthens adherence to treatment as it makes seeking care easier and more affordable.
From September, we also continued to improve care for patients with non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension, in the clinics that we support.