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Jun 10, 2019

Completing Treatment and Returning to School

Stroll to Park with Liudmila
Stroll to Park with Liudmila

Thanks to our regular GlobalGiving donors, Speranta Terrei can count on giving treatment support to tuberculosis patients from start to finish. We are especially grateful to donors who give every month to our programs.

A year ago, we reported on nine-year old Vladislav, who was undergoing lengthy treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Now a year later, we are pleased to report ten-year old Vladislav will complete TB treatment at the end of June. Last September, he was able to return to school. 

After his doctors adjusted his treatment regimen and the painful injection part of the regimen concluded, Vladislav started to feel fewer side effects. He no longer vomited or felt dizzy after taking medication. His doctors said he could be given medication at home and his daily visits to the TB dispensary could end. Speranta Terrei replaced his moderator Angela with Liudmila, who was able to take anti-TB drugs to his home for Directly Observed Therapy (DOT).

At the beginning of the last school term, Vladislav returned to the same school he had attended before he had MDR-TB. He recently graduated the third form. Although he is happy to return to school, he can sense his classmates are afraid to be near him. Some even say offensive words. Vladislav knows studies are important and he wants to be in school. He says, “I want them to forget I had TB and treat me normally.” Vladislav is not infectious, but TB carries a heavy stigma for patients in Moldova and people avoid them from fear of being infected.

Fortunately, Vladislav has friends in his neighborhood and often plays with them. He likes active games, games full of running and jumping, and this is how he broke his right arm. Seeing Vladislav brimming with energy, Liudmila took him to a park to play after a recent DOT visit (photos). 

Liudmila says, “Vladislav is close to my son’s age and they became friends. We are so happy he withstood treatment and recovered from MDR-TB.”

 

Should I Go Up?
Should I Go Up?
Vladislav on Swing
Vladislav on Swing
One-Handed Push
One-Handed Push
Liudmila Gives Vladislav a Whirl
Liudmila Gives Vladislav a Whirl
I Conquered TB
I Conquered TB
Mar 11, 2019

A Hot Lunch on a Cold Day

Ladling Borscht
Ladling Borscht

Donations through GlobalGiving are critical for our Centre for Tuberculosis Patients to remain open through the winter. Speranta Terrei economizes and watches the thermostat, but heat, electricity, and water expenses have soared in recent months. Since December, our staff has been preparing and serving hot lunch to homeless persons at our Centre three times per week. This supports Speranta Terrei’s program of active case finding for tuberculosis among the homeless, a group at high risk for contracting TB. “We screen them for symptoms and take them for diagnostic tests at the TB dispensary”, explains Galina, who has a special rapport with the homeless of Balti after 12 years of conducting outreach among them. She finds them near garbage bins and outside churches, where they scavenge for food and clothing to ward off the cold.

Galina asks them as well about their acquaintances, if any of them have persistent cough or fever, if they need to be examined. When a homeless person is diagnosed with TB, Galina and other Speranta Terrei moderators (treatment supporters) give them Directly Observed Therapy (DOT), bringing medicine from the TB dispensary and observing them ingest it. 

On a cold February day, homeless persons who had undergone TB control to rule out infectiousness came to Speranta Terrei’s Centre for Tuberculosis Patients to warm up and fill up with steaming borscht and pelimeni (photos). The Moldovan soup and dumplings served at a dining table were a rare respite from scavenging for food. Alexandr (in photo) said, “To smell and eat fresh food you made, we thank you. These are the only hot meals we eat and we have not eaten so well for a long time.” The homeless related stories of being evicted from apartments or returning from a stint of migrant labor in other countries to find their family and house were no longer theirs. Some of the homeless stay temporarily in an overnight shelter called Reintoarcere, others are constantly out in the cold, on the street.  

After lunch, Speranta Terrei’s president, Dora, talked to them about how to prevent TB transmission and where and how to consult a doctor if they develop TB symptoms. The vice mayor of Balti, Mr. Smulschii, has expressed his appreciation to Speranta Terrei for controlling TB among the homeless. He said homeless citizens have told him, “the hot lunches make a big difference in our lives”.

Speranta Terrei’s staff are grateful for your contribution to the operation of our Centre. This Centre is a place to combat TB and to offer the homeless a hot lunch on a cold day.

 

Boiling Pelimeni
Boiling Pelimeni
Alexandr Eating Borscht with Cream
Alexandr Eating Borscht with Cream
Mircea & Serghei Eating Borscht and Bread
Mircea & Serghei Eating Borscht and Bread
Galina Serving Pelimeni to Stepan & Alexandr
Galina Serving Pelimeni to Stepan & Alexandr
Galina & Dora in Centre
Galina & Dora in Centre's Kitchen
Dec 14, 2018

Anna's Goal is to be Cured of MDR-TB

Olga Knocks on Anna
Olga Knocks on Anna's Front Door

Anna says, “I cried for three days when the doctor said I had TB, I was shocked.” She was at a hospital in the capital, Chisinau, and the doctor had confirmed the diagnosis through bronchoscopy. Earlier x-ray and sputum tests had not been confirmatory for tuberculosis and Anna had thought her fever and cough were due to a cold. The doctor tried to reassure her, telling her, “it is not the end, TB can be treated.” Hearing those words sparked Anna’s decision, she set herself the goal to be treated and cured of TB. 

Anna has multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), requiring longer, more painful and more toxic treatment than drug-susceptible TB. In March, she started a daily regimen of 22 pills and an injection. For three months, she suffered severe side effects, vomiting and aches in her shoulders, arms, and back. She reminded herself of her goal and did not give up on treatment. Dr. Vladimir at the polyclinic in Sadovoe, where Anna lives on the outskirts of Balti, and Dr. Aliona at the TB dispensary in Balti, reviewed and adjusted her drug regimen. This eased Anna’s side effects and she started to recover. She says, “I stopped vomiting and regained 4 kilos”. At the end of October, she endured her last painful injection and her daily regimen is down to 12 pills and 2 packets of powder. 

Throughout the anguishing TB treatment, Olga, a medical assistant at the Sadovoe polyclinic, has assisted Anna as her moderator, with the support of Speranta Terrei. Olga goes to Anna’s house 6 days a week with pills, powders, and injections (photos) and takes word back to Dr. Vladimir on Anna’s condition. In only her second year as a medical assistant, Olga notes with equanimity, “I explained Anna’s side effects to Dr. Vladimir and he conferred with Dr. Aliona and during Anna’s next TB control visit, they changed drugs and added a drug to reduce liver toxicity”. Olga’s visits have kept Anna directed towards her goal. Anna need not walk to the polyclinic when she is drained from TB drugs and she can lie down at home after injections. She remarks on Olga’s attentiveness, “She sensed me wincing from injections and said she was sorry to inflict those on me.” 

Because Anna worked at a bread factory in Sadovoe, Olga and Dr. Vladimir had another job on their hands, screening the factory’s workers for TB. Thanks to a TB awareness campaign Speranta Terrei had organized earlier, Olga and Dr. Vladimir had given information on TB to Sadovoe’s residents. Following Anna’s MDR-TB diagnosis, Olga went to the home of each bread factory worker and screened the family for TB symptoms. For those answering yes to three TB symptoms, she gave an x-ray prescription. Speranta Terrei arranged its van and driver to take 118 bread factory workers and family members for x-rays at the TB dispensary in Balti. If x-ray results indicated it, they then underwent sputum tests. From this systematic screening, Olga and Dr. Vladimir identified two more cases of MDR-TB in Sadovoe. 

Thanks to your Global Giving donations, Speranta Terrei can bolster Anna’s chances of reaching her goal of being cured. And, it can detect more TB cases and give those patients a chance to start treatment and not infect others. We wish our donors Happy New Year, in Moldavian, An Nou Fericit!

 

Olga Brings Powders & Pills for Anna
Olga Brings Powders & Pills for Anna
Anna Drinks First the Powder, Then the Pills
Anna Drinks First the Powder, Then the Pills
Anna Points to Shoulder Pain, a Side Effect
Anna Points to Shoulder Pain, a Side Effect
Olga & Anna Discuss How Different Drugs Helped
Olga & Anna Discuss How Different Drugs Helped
Anna Happy to be Recovering
Anna Happy to be Recovering
 
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