Vegetable garden puts spotlight on TB

The health committee and staff at Dr Abdurahman Community Health Centre in Kewtown cleared a piece of land to start a vegetable garden in commemoration of World tuberculosis (TB) Day, on Friday March 24.

They also hosted a short information and entertainment programme, through which the importance of taking TB medication, once diagnosed with it, was highlighted.

The centre’s operational manager for nursing, Sister Lulu Bunyula, told patients that it is sad when someone dies of TB, when the disease is treatable and curable.

“It is very important that you get your treatment and eat healthy. Many of us live in small houses, and some only have one window, especially homes in informal settlements, and I implore you to open your windows to help stop the spread of TB. So many of us also live in overcrowded conditions, which could make it worse. If you do not take your TB medication, you are not only risking your own life, you could infect somebody else with it,” she said.

She also thanked the centre’s health promoting officer, Lecia Fredericks, and her team, whom she said, go beyond the call of duty, and fetch patients at their homes, who have not come to receive their treatment.

Ms Fredericks pointed out to the patients there, that the number of TB deaths in the Western Cape are among the highest in the world.

“You cannot use your medication and drink alcohol – this is one of the ways one can contract multi-drug resistant TB. Another important aspect of treatment for TB, is a healthy diet, and many TB and HIV patients have nothing to eat at home,” she said.

She also wanted to destigmatise the use of masks, she told the patients.

The health committee and non-profit organisations, the Women’s Circle in Kewtown and Family in Focus, partnered for the vegetable garden on the premises of Dr Abdurahman. A piece of land was identified, and will be used for the garden.

The vegetables will be used to feed TB and HIV-positive patients from the centre, as nutrition is important, the health committee chairperson, Shafiek Rajap, said.

Patients who are interested, will be trained to care for the vegetable garden. Initially, the garden will produce cabbage, spinach, tomatoes and potatoes.

Grey water will be used to tend the garden, and all the patients at Dr Abdurahman have been urged to bring along a bottle of grey water from their homes, when they visit the day hospital.