Feb 8, 2021

Screening the Vulnerable for Tuberculosis

Galina & Feodora Explain Procedures
Galina & Feodora Explain Procedures

Speranta Terrei is screening vulnerable groups for tuberculosis (TB), an important step in finding and treating undiagnosed TB cases and thus in stopping transmission. We are screening contacts of TB patients and persons who are homeless, low-income, and of Roma ethnicity under a Global Fund project that Center PAS administers. We started in Balti municipality and neighboring Falesti district and will add residents of Riscani and Ungheni districts in north Moldova

Speranta Terrei’s long-time moderator, Galina, is experienced in outreach and treatment support to the homeless. She visits places where they live in Balti, explains TB symptoms and diagnostics, and encourages them to be screened. She invites three persons at a time to Speranta Terrei’s Centre for Tuberculosis Patients to eat, wash themselves, and select clothes, all with social distancing and COVID-19 precautions in mind. Claudia, Vladimir, and Serghei said they were glad to come to the warm Centre, out of the February cold. Feodora, Speranta Terrei’s president, and Galina posed the questions on the Moldovan TB screening questionnaire. Because their answers met the criteria for x-ray screening, Feodora gave them masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer so they could enter the clinic for x-rays. After they left, Elena, the cleaner at our Centre, sanitized surfaces thoroughly, as she does after visitors.

Alexandr, who keeps Speranta Terrei’s van in tiptop shape, drove Claudia, Vladimir, and Serghei to the clinic to be x-rayed and then dropped them at “Reintoarcere”. Balti municipality’s social assistance department and Speranta Terrei helped to reserve space at this temporary housing centre. A few days later, Speranta Terrei received x-ray results and Galina recorded the results and informed Claudia, Vladimir, and Serghei. Although none of them were diagnosed with TB, their x-rays indicated other respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. If doctors recommend further TB diagnostic tests, Speranta Terrei will assist them with these. For screened persons who are diagnosed with TB in Balti, we assign moderators to give Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) to support the vulnerable through treatment.

Our Galina suffered profound loss last March, when her beloved and only child, Igor, passed away at the age of 35. Igor receiving TB treatment support from a Speranta Terrei moderator had inspired Galina herself to become a moderator, a role in which she is so effective that new patients ask for her by name. Galina says, “I mourn Igor every day and giving solace to needy TB patients consoles me.” Igor was himself a moderator at Speranta Terrei, mother and son together giving treatment support and leading discussions in the patient group, called TB Club. 

We thank you, our donors, and we thank GlobalGiving for matching donations on Giving Tuesday, last December. Your donations make our Centre for Tuberculosis Patients functional and a place where the vulnerable are welcome. 

 

Claudia Eats Before X-ray
Claudia Eats Before X-ray
Galina Writes Screening Form
Galina Writes Screening Form
Feodora Prepares Sanitary Packet
Feodora Prepares Sanitary Packet
Serghei Leaves Speranta Terrei's Centre
Serghei Leaves Speranta Terrei's Centre
Vladimir at "Reintoarcere"
Vladimir at "Reintoarcere"
Oct 12, 2020

Students Give to Children in Tuberculosis Families

Irina & Vlad Mark Names on Donation Bags
Irina & Vlad Mark Names on Donation Bags

Back in January and February, students at Ion Creanga High School in Balti gathered clothes, toys, games, notebooks, and pencils for children in families undergoing treatment for tuberculosis (TB). The high school students planned to distribute these donations on World Tuberculosis Day on 24 March in cooperation with Speranta Terrei’s annual commemoration to raise awareness of TB and TB patients. When the COVID-19 lockdown came into effect in Moldova in mid-March, schools and offices closed and gatherings cancelled. Speranta Terrei and the high school students abandoned plans for World TB Day and waited for an opportune time to give the donations to children.

Ion Creanga High School has an exchange program with a high school in France, Lycée Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, in La Roche sur Yon and had to abandon as well a visit planned for Easter holidays. The teachers and students at Lycée Jean de Lattre de Tassigny had collected funds and at the behest of Ion Creanga High School’s teachers and students, they donated these funds through GlobalGiving to Speranta Terrei. Thanks to their generosity, Speranta Terrei purchased sanitary supplies for children in tuberculosis families and organized an activity in September to distribute these and the clothes and toys.

Many Ion Creanga students volunteered for the activity, but the head master gave permission to only two students, Vlad and Diana, and their French and English teacher, Irina, to limit exposure. Speranta Terrei’s staff and Ion Creanga’s teachers gathered extra donations after they saw the final list of children from Speranta Terrei’s moderators (treatment supporters). Altogether, 23 children, ages 9 months to 18 years, along with their parents came to Speranta Terrei’s Centre for Tuberculosis Patients. Speranta Terrei’s president, Feodora, explained to them how TB is transmitted and how to guard against COVID-19 with proper placement of masks and social distancing. Then, Vlad and Diana handed the bags of donations to each child.

The children and their parents were grateful for the donations and for the diversion from economic worries. TB had interrupted their jobs, then the pandemic brought more hardship with factory, transport, and school closures and heightened fears of infection for those with an underlying respiratory disease, tuberculosis. Moldovan schools opened in September and students attend separated sessions in morning and afternoon or in-person and online on different days of the week.

Children at the activity asked, “when are we going to have a day of fun games as we did last year?” Sadly, Vlad and Diana had to answer that such gatherings were forbidden at this time. The mother of five-year old Serghei called her moderator, Angela, to say how well the shoes and clothes fit him and to express her thanks. Sadly, days later, Serghei’s mother was hospitalized and passed away. We at Speranta Terrei and Ion Creanga High School are in profound sorrow at this terrible turn of events for young Serghei, his mother, and his family. 

Speranta Terrei would like to thank our many donors, whose generosity brings relief to TB patients and their families. 

Feodora Explains How to Wear Masks & Gloves
Feodora Explains How to Wear Masks & Gloves
Dumitru Listens
Dumitru Listens
Daniel Peeks into His Bag with Father, Andrei
Daniel Peeks into His Bag with Father, Andrei
Serghei Retrieves Toy from His Bag
Serghei Retrieves Toy from His Bag
Diana Hands Bag to Vera
Diana Hands Bag to Vera
Jun 16, 2020

Treatment Support Under Lockdown

Lidia, left, and Vera, right, Sanitize Hands
Lidia, left, and Vera, right, Sanitize Hands

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard in Moldova and in our home city, Balti. Medical staff are exhausted, many infected and isolated in quarantine. Lockdown measures against the pandemic went into effect in mid-March. These measures endangered tuberculosis (TB) control and Speranta Terrei stepped in to increase treatment support for TB patients. A micro-grant from GlobalGiving and contributions from our GlobalGiving donors allowed us to take on 23 extra patients for community-based Directly Observed Therapy (DOT). We send you our and our patients’ profound thanks for giving us funds to continue treatment support to TB patients.

Under lockdown restrictions, public trolley busses stopped running and Balti residents were obliged to stay home. Doctors and nurses at Balti TB dispensary told TB patients to continue to come for anti-TB drugs, yet their weakened immune systems put them at higher risk of infection. Most of these patients gave up on treatment and refused to go to the dispensary. Doctors feared for their patients’ health and for the consequences of increased community TB transmission in the midst of the pandemic. Speranta Terrei acted on the doctors’ requests, arranged transport for moderators (treatment supporters) and equipped them with masks, gloves, and sanitizer.

Every day, Lidia and Vera and other moderators take separate, marked packets of anti-TB drugs for each patient and take along the form for the patient to sign after taking the drugs. On this day, Lidia and Vera visited 7 patients in one part of Balti. After they returned to the dispensary, other moderators went out to another part of the city. Lidia and Vera say, “we are proud to help these patients that risked to be forgotten during the pandemic.”

For two of the patients, both named Andrei, Lidia and Vera went to their houses to give them DOT. Both men named Andrei have drug-susceptible TB. They said how thankful they were for being able to continue TB treatment at home. Andrei in photo 4 said, “This way I avoid contact with people and avoid risk of COVID infection. I am close to finishing treatment and I will finish it in Lidia’s and Vera’s care.”

Vitalii has the more serious multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and a relapse case of it at that. He was homeless for many years and abused alcohol. A year ago, he met a woman who offered him shelter and food and this was an impetus for him to overcome alcohol abuse and to pay attention to his health. Each day, Vitalii walks over to meet Lidia and Vera at a place near where he lives. After 18 months of treatment, Vitalii has another 3 months to go and he is relieved to finally reach this point.

At Speranta Terrei, we are committed to controlling TB and are terribly concerned about the interruption in TB diagnostic and treatment services during the pandemic. But, we are relieved to continue giving vulnerable patients a way to reach the end of treatment and cure during the lockdown.

 

A Packet for Each Patient
A Packet for Each Patient
Andrei Takes Handful of TB Drugs
Andrei Takes Handful of TB Drugs
Andrei Drinks Pills
Andrei Drinks Pills
Vitalii Walks to Meet Moderators
Vitalii Walks to Meet Moderators
Vitalii Swallows TB Drugs
Vitalii Swallows TB Drugs
 
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