July 27, 2016
Khun Pongsakorn is lion-hearted. As a day-labourer, earning THB 380 a day (approx. EUR 10) at Bangkok’s harbour, he makes a living for a family of six. He works in flip-flops too small as he cannot afford to buy himself a pair of sneakers that fit, which have given him a pressure ulcer in both feet. But most of all, Khun Pongsakorn is a recurrent TB patient and started his medical treatment last month for the second time. Although TB treatment is free, Khun Pongsakorn needs THB 60 for his daily transport to the healthcare centre to receive his medication and THB 120 for dressing his wounds. Deeply weakened both by the disease and the ulcers, he was forced to stop working. This also means no income for the entire family which amplifies the risk factors, such as under-nutrition, for TB transmission within the household.
BE Health’s peer educators noted furthermore that Khun Pongsakorn was seriously lacking knowledge as he randomly put all his pills and tablets from eight different regimens in the same box, seriously compromising the success of his TB and ulcer treatments. Besides monitoring his treatment, the peer educators were determined to prepare precise drug packages so that he could take the correct therapeutic doses every day.
Khun Pongsakorn received financial support from his neighbourhood and social support from Healthcare Centre 41 (Khlong Toei). BE Health will take care of him until he is cured. His case shows that TB treatment monitoring, social support and empowerment are crucial to the success of tuberculosis care and prevention.