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Sep 4, 2019

My Roof is Falling

Nelli's Roof Needs Repair
Nelli's Roof Needs Repair

Tuberculosis is only one of Nelli’s daily concerns. Her roof is in danger of collapse and her meagre pension is insufficient for food, let alone a costly roof repair. Nelli has multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and spent three months at Vorniceni, the specialized MDR-TB hospital in Moldova. When she returned to Balti to continue ambulatory treatment, Speranta Terrei offered her counseling and treatment support. 

Speranta Terrei’s social assistant, Viorica, helped Nelli to write a form to request assistance from Balti municipality to repair her roof. Nelli says, “My roof is falling, rain drips through holes, I am worried with autumn and winter coming.” Nelli is a widow, her husband died 10 years ago and she lives alone. TB and a poor diet have led to fragile health and she fears a cold, damp winter will make it worse. Nelli comes twice per week to Speranta Terrei’s Centre for Tuberculosis Patients for psychological counseling. The doctor at Balti TB dispensary asked Speranta Terrei to assist because Nelli did not want to continue the two-year regimen of anti-TB drugs with their attendant side effects. Because of the resistance pattern of the particular strain of TB she has, Nelli cannot take first-line drugs and even some second-line drugs. She says of counseling, “it made me more confident, I understood I could be cured if I finished treatment.” Eduard, her counselor, has sensed her willingness to persevere grow since she began counseling two months ago.

Nelli’s neighbor, Oleg, and his wife watch over her, but their living conditions are similar. Oleg and his wife have a daughter who left long ago to work in Russia, as have many other Moldovans facing dire economic prospects at home. Oleg was treated for TB in prison 15 years ago and last year he was diagnosed with MDR-TB. Oleg and Nelli go together to Speranta Terrei’s Centre to speak to counselors and to apply for social assistance. Speranta Terrei’s treatment supporter (moderator), Alexandra, visits them at home to give Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) and to encourage them to continue treatment. 

Nelli, Oleg, and the rest of us at Speranta Terrei thank you for contributing towards support for vulnerable TB patients. Our counselors, moderators, and social assistants strengthen patients’ resolve to be cured and try to allay their concerns. Speranta Terrei’s own Centre was damaged from heavy rains in June. A renovation company has started repairs and plans to finish before the onset of cold weather. We will keep helping Nelli to find a way to repair her roof and to finish treatment.

 

Eduard Counsels Nelli
Eduard Counsels Nelli
Nelli Takes Anti-TB Drugs as Alexandra Observes
Nelli Takes Anti-TB Drugs as Alexandra Observes
Hard for Nelli to Get Pills Down
Hard for Nelli to Get Pills Down
Oleg Takes Anti-TB Drugs
Oleg Takes Anti-TB Drugs
Viorica & Alexandra Review Oleg's Documents
Viorica & Alexandra Review Oleg's Documents
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's Kitchen
Galina & Dora in Centre's Kitchen
 
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