Alafia Tinga or “Village of Good Health” is BMC’s tuberculosis treatment village. Located just south of the hospital, it consists of 35 housing units for TB patients and their caretakers to live in.
Patients are required to live in Alafia Tinga for the entire duration of their treatment. Patients used to stay for 9 months but the hospital now has a shortened protocol that can be completed in a 6 month timeframe.
Alafia Tinga can house about 66 patients at a time but in recent years it is rarely filled to capacity. Patients on the “intensive phase” (first 2 months of treatment) are separated from those in the “continuation phase” (the last 4 months).
History of Alafia Tinga
The TB treatment village was built in the 1960s with great help from IMB missionaries Rev. & Mrs. Hudson Favell. One of the major health problems that was noted at the time was that of tuberculosis. The patients would be admitted to the isolation ward where they stayed until their sputum was negative for 6 months. After being discharged they were instructed to return to OPD every two weeks for medication. The number who returned to continue their treatment was small.
One reason found was that when they left the hospital, they felt good and saw no need to continue treatment. Another was that many lived a great distance from the hospital and found difficulty in transport. The result was that soon their disease became active and upon readmission to the hospital, it was found that they were resistent to the regular drugs that are used to treat TB.
The hospital personnel felt the patient should stay as long as they were under treatment. This lead to the building of the Village of Good Health. It was built in the style of local homes with 2 families to compound. There is a stream nearby and land for the family to farm.
The patient would then be admitted to the isolation ward at BMC and his immediate family to Alafia Tinga where they could life and farm. When the patient was discharged from the hospital, he or she stayed with their families in Alafia Tinga as long as they were under treatment. The average stay was 2 years. This provided opportunity for the rest of the family to be checked for TB. It also provided a captive audience for preaching. Various classes have been held there over the years, including classes in improving farming, sewing, hygiene, and literacy.