Our patient, Alexandr Ivanov, says “Galina is a ray of light and Speranta Terrei needs to live long enough, as I have, to see another life without TB.” Alexandr contracted tuberculosis while he was resident in an alcoholism treatment clinic. Alcohol and narcotics have marked his young life of 26 years.
He lives in Balti with his mother, who takes care of him. He has difficulty walking and our moderator, Galina Zaporojan, massages his legs and hands after he has taken the TB drugs she brings to his apartment. The caring touch and the conversations with Galina have persuaded Alexandr to continue TB treatment and think of his future. He is close to completing 9 months of therapy for drug-susceptible TB.
With your donations to our Global Giving project, Galina has attended to 16 TB patients, 9 new cases and 7 relapse cases. Each patient receives her undivided attention, whether he/she has TB, MDR-TB or HIV co-infection. Galina relishes home visits and discussions with patients. For Alexandr, she brings her special touch 5 times per week, staying for 2 hours each time. Photos of Galina and Alexandr are attached.
Speranta Terrei hopes to continue to live, in Alexandr’s words, and give other patients the extra support which helps them to fight TB.
Moldova is predominantly a rural country and TB patients from villages must travel longer distances than city residents to reach dispensaries for ambulatory treatment. Irina Gribeniuc is Speranta Terrei’s first moderator in Riscani, a rural district close to Balti. She gives treatment support to 8 patients altogether, 5 new cases and 3 relapse cases. One of her patients, Anton, exemplifies how socioeconomic circumstances and TB are intertwined and how our moderators encourage patients to adhere to treatment.
Anton is 37 years old and has a relapse case of TB and is co-infected with multi drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and HIV. He grew up in extreme poverty after his father died when Anton was young. Drugs and alcohol became a way to escape and beginning at age 17 years, he went in and out of prison several times. In 2007, he was diagnosed with TB, but he continued to abuse drugs and alcohol and TB treatment was ineffective. When Anton was diagnosed with MDR-TB, he was shaken sufficiently by this and the birth of a son to become attentive to treatment.
Dr. Alla Bulgari, the TB doctor for Riscani, asked Speranta Terrei for a moderator for Anton because his legs were weak and he could not walk far. When Irina first came to his house in Nagorie village, he was hesitant to speak. As Irina began to discuss her own difficulties, Anton opened up and began to trust her. Irina takes TB drugs to Anton 5 times per week and he follows the regimen, though it is complicated and long. You can see Irina, Anton, and Dr. Bulgari in the attached photos.
Speranta Terrei was happy to receive your donations on Bonus Day in March, donations which helped to us to increase the number of patients to 60. We thank you enormously for your continuing support.
One of our patients, Galina Iarosevscaia, expressed her thanks to Speranta Terrei and her moderator in the attached, handwritten letter. Galina says about Olga Pogor, “Every day she kept bringing me the necessary medicine. We were waiting for her and were very glad to see her. She shared with us even her bread. Thanks to Olga, I met new good people...I am going to study tailoring...I am already cured from TB and my children will soon finish the treatment.”
When the TB dispensary asked our moderator, Olga, to take TB drugs to Galina, Olga soon realized treatment support was only the beginning. Galina was homeless with 2 young children and had no prospects to earn a living. Through social services of Balti City Hall, Speranta Terrei helped Galina to enroll in job training and live in a temporary housing center. In the bitter winter of Balti, this has been a lifesaver for Galina and 4-year old Cristi and 5-year old Angelina. You can see Galina and her children in the attached photos. Cristi and Angelina are undergoing prophylactic TB treatment and will attend a special kindergarten for children with family members who have had TB.
Your donations are critical to our ability to offer this kind of personalized treatment support and reduce the risk of relapse. Thank you to our continuing and new donors who gave during Christmas and New Year holidays. We would like to acknowledge especially employees of the Eli Lilly Company for their contributions. Galina, Cristi, and Angelina send all of you a heartfelt thanks!
Speranta Terrei is featured in “Tuberculosis: Voices in the fight against the European epidemic,” a report published in September by ACTION (Advocacy to Control Tuberculosis Internationally) and the TB Europe Coalition (http://c1280352.r52.cf0.rackcdn.com/FINAL_TB_VOICES_EUROPE_REPORT.pdf). The report contains stories and photos from 7 European countries to highlight the human face of TB. Our very own Feodora Rodiucova (Dora) speaks of why treatment support should become the norm and not the exception for Moldovan TB patients. Igor Tcaci, Speranta Terrei’s coordinator for ex-prisoners and a cured MDR-TB (multi-drug resistant tuberculosis) patient, describes the sense of alarm when a patient hears the diagnosis and the psychological healing that must be part of the treatment.
Our psychologist, Lica Jicrivetcaia, is much in demand by TB patients. She says listening to patients is critical, to allow them to express their anxieties and fears. She explains the purpose of psychotherapy is to reduce fear and to restore the patient’s innate ability to respond to adversity. In the attached photos, Lica and the back of a female patient, S.N., are visible. Lica pets a cat during this discussion, a technique she has found to be soothing to some patients.
S.N. was diagnosed recently with MDR-TB, a condition for which her husband was being treated. He had hidden his illness from her and the revelation was a jolt to her. MDR-TB requires 24 months of treatment and S.N.’s doctor has recommended hospitalization at the MDR-TB ward in Chisinau, the capital located 145 kilometers from Balti. She is apprehensive for her 3 young children’s health and reluctant to leave them in Balti with her aged mother. Her predicament is only one of many around us. S.N. says, “Tuberculosis is frightening. But, I am not alone and Lica is nearby. This warms my heart. With her help, I understand I must overcome this disease for the sake of my children and their future.”
Speranta Terrei’s first office will be two rooms at the Training Center for Medical and Pharmacy Assistants instead of at the training center “Miracol.” One small, private room will be for counseling patients and the second, larger room will be for meetings and training of our moderators and patients. We have delayed the development of our web site and plan to renew it once we find funds for this purpose.
Thanks to your continuing donations, Speranta Terrei has increased the number of patients in the Global Giving project to 40. We have extended our treatment support to Riscani village, which is 45 kilometers from Balti. Irina Gribeniuc, a new moderator who lives in Riscani, has started giving treatment support to 4 patients with drug-susceptible TB and MDR-TB.
We are sending a special thanks to those of you who donated on Bonus Day and gave us the means to expand services. The new items in our budget, which is attached, are rent for an office and TB treatment support for an extra 3 months.
Our first office will be a room at the training center, “Miracol,” in Balti. This is the center where former prisoners with TB were given job training under another project. Patients, moderators, and staff can walk or ride the bus to this central location. Because it is only one room, we will schedule the time carefully to make the most use of it. Speranta Terrei’s psychologist, Lica Jicrivetcaia, will now be able to counsel patients in a private place. Currently, the counseling is given at the Balti TB dispensary and dispensary personnel come and go from the room. Lica has said these interruptions and lack of privacy are a hindrance as patients who are opening up then stop speaking. With an office, our patients will receive better psychological support and we will have a place for meetings, preparing reports, and reviewing records.
Speranta Terrei will give treatment support to 30 patients with funds raised through the Global Giving project. Our new moderator, Igor Zaporajan, was one of our early patients in 2006-2007. For Speranta Terrei, it is gratifying to have so many former patients acting as moderators. They understand from their own experience the feelings of despondency after being diagnosed with TB and the benefits of a persistent and caring moderator who stays with them through the ups and downs of treatment. Former patients are not only returning the favor, they are building goodwill and trust in the community without which Speranta Terrei could not function.
Iurii is nearing the end of treatment for drug-susceptible TB. His TB doctor, Pavel Ciobanu, requested a moderator when Iurii completed 5 months of hospital treatment and started continuation phase treatment at home. Iurii has a leg condition from his time in prison and cannot walk to the dispensary. Our moderator, Nadejda Priscu, visits Iurii 5 times per week to administer TB drugs and discuss treatment as well as his and his family’s other concerns. Nadejda explains TB laboratory tests for monitoring treatment, such as sputum and culture tests at the Balti TB laboratory, where she is a physician’s assistant.
The attached photos show Nadejda arriving at Iurii’s house and giving him anti-TB drugs. The interaction with Nadejda has made a huge difference in Iurii’s outlook. He said, “Every day in the hospital felt like 10 days. I was relieved to be at home again, but hesitant about the offer of assistance from Speranta Terrei. After 2 weeks of Nadejda’s visits, I could speak to her about the many turns in my life. She gives me advice on the regimen and listens attentively. For me, I think fortune has smiled on me and I can win against TB.”
Feodora Rodiucova, Speranta Terrei’s president, wrote a guest blog post for Results UK to promote the Global Giving project. Feodora writes about her motivation for starting Speranta Terrei and the importance of reducing treatment abandonment. You can read her blog post at: http://blog.results.org.uk/2011/07/29/support-moldovan-tb-patients-on-global-giving-uk/#more-6143
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Moldova, Republic of
Moldova, Republic of