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Nutrition support for TB patients and families

Tax deductible
You can make a difference by donating today to support nutritional requirements of underserved TB patients and their families.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a global health problem and India has the highest burden with two TB-related deaths occurring every three minutes. While early diagnosis of the disease can lead to timely and accurate treatment, under-nutrition is a key cause for higher death rates and the spread of TB.

Among poor communities, once a patient becomes unwell with TB, they are forced to stop working and the family suffers from poverty.

In a recent country-wide study supported by the Indian Council of Medical Research and published in the Lancet (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(23)00324-8/fulltext), nutrition support was found to have a major impact:

• Reduces the risk of TB deaths (~60% reduction in death risk with just a 5% weight gain)

• Reduces the chances of infections within the family by ~40%.

• Improves the chances of a patient to get back to work after recovering from TB treatment by 75%.

These were achieved with food rations and multivitamins at a cost of less than £1 per day. The study also highlights the importance of the timeliness of these interventions: within the first two months of contracting the disease.

To enable better nutrition for TB patients, the Indian and the State governments provides and raises financial support from companies, NGOs and the public to provide sufficient nutrition. However, a lot more needs to be done.

Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore serves various underprivileged communities both in Vellore and in rural areas surrounding Vellore. CMC’s Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs (RUHSA), provides healthcare services to one of the most underserved rural communities: K V Kuppam, with a population of 128,000. Besides K V Kuppam, it also treats people including TB patients from neighbouring Gudiyatham and Pernambut rural blocks with marginalised low-literate population. RUHSA helps these patients through medical treatment, nutritional support and social rehabilitation by encouraging them to attend an Infectious Disease Clinic for monthly follow-up. Nutritional supplements, especially when started during initial phase of the treatment, make a huge impact on recovery of the patients through weight gain, better tolerance to drugs and social mobilisation. CMC’s Low Cost Effective Care Unit, which works with slum communities in Vellore, sees several TB patients also whose financial difficulties are hugely exacerbated by the disease.

The photos below show three TB patients receiving home visits from staff CMC Vellore.




Through this campaign, HelpToBreathe will aim to support the nutritional requirements (as determined by the clinicians and nutritionists at RUHSA) of a minimum of 50 patients and their households for 6 months. This is expected to cost £1 per day per patient household, including the cost of distributing the rations. This amount will help the patients in getting protein supplements, multivitamin supplements and specific diet prepared by our nutritionist through the 6-month period without putting a strain on the family resources. In poor marginalised populations, TB pushes the family to extreme poverty.

Please donate generously.

All UK donations through this GoFundMe page go to Friends of Vellore UK, a charitable institution registered in the UK, which supports Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore. The received donations will then be passed on to CMC, Vellore.

About CMC Vellore:

From a one room dispensary, CMC has grown into a network of primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary care hospitals, with over 3600 beds and 13,000 staff spread across seven campuses in and around Vellore, and in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh. Over the course of the year April 2022 – March 2023, 143,514 inpatients were treated and over 3 million outpatients were seen. Today, CMC is considered one of India’s finest medical college hospitals and attracts patients from all over the country as well as neighbouring nations.

CMC continues to be a great training institute in allied health sciences, nursing, under graduate and post graduate medical education. It has initiated numerous fellowship programmes and super speciality degree courses. It has also established health management, distance education courses and e-learning programmes. CMC’s graduates form a large proportion of the trained health care personnel manning the hospitals run by the churches in remote parts of the country.

Research at CMC has always aimed to be relevant to the needs of the country. Several protocols for cost-effective care solutions to problems like leprosy, polio, childhood diarrhoea, invasive bacterial infections, spinal cord injuries and cancers have been investigated there. The Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology has entrusted development and translation of stem cell research to CMC.

CMC maintains its commitment to the care of marginalised and vulnerable people. The hospital has been a champion of stigmatised patients afflicted with mental illness, leprosy and HIV. It seeks to ensure treatment is accessible to the poor through various schemes so that no patient is turned away due to lack of funds.

Patients flock to this small city because they believe they will get an honest opinion and care from professionals who live out their motto of not to be served, but to serve.

About HelpToBreathe:

HelpToBreathe consists of a group of people with different set of skills, knowledge, education, experience, and backgrounds. Our mission is to help hospitals in underserved areas and patient care of poor patients in India.

For more information, visit: https://helptobreathe.org/

How the donations will be delivered to the beneficiary:

As academics we have collaborated with CMC, Vellore. For this campaign supporting Christian Medical College, Vellore, all UK donations go to Friends of Vellore, a registered UK charity, who are eligible to receive Gift Aid. 100% of the received donations will then be passed on to CMC, Vellore. All the donations from India and non-UK donations will be received directly by the Christian Medical College a charitable institution in India via give.do.
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HelpTobreathe Supporting hospitals in India
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Friends of Vellore UK
 
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