6.5.2 Special education for patients and parents
Patients with tuberculosis, leprosy or HIV/AIDS who have to take drugs for many months need a great deal of explanation and encouragement. They must continue to take tablets even when they feel better, in case the disease becomes active again. Parents need to be educated about treatments for their children, for example, to kill intestinal worms, and also about bringing their young children regularly for vitamin A supplements.
Patients and parents need to be educated about taking drugs or other medications at the correct time (Figure 6.8). You should also inform them of any special precautions, such as advising pregnant women to take iron tablets with food to reduce the risk of nausea.
It is your responsibility to ensure that all your patients are fully informed about their treatment and to help them to comply with treatment that has been prescribed for them – either by you or by doctors at the health centre or hospital. Failure of a healthworker to educate patients about essential information regarding their health and treatment is unethical behaviour. In the next three study sessions, we turn to the important subject of ethics in healthcare.