Aug 10, 2015

Many Sides to Tuberculosis

Igor listens to Cecilia
Igor listens to Cecilia

Tuberculosis disease carries with it the stigma and fear of airborne infection. Patients and former patients are shunned by employers, classmates, and neighbors, even when treatment is effective and they have been cured. Add to such circumstances a spell in prison and the separation from society intensifies. At Speranta Terrei, we counter misconceptions on how TB is transmitted and promote reintegration of tuberculosis patients through raising awareness and through our services.

Igor, who completed treatment for drug-susceptible tuberculosis earlier this year comes regularly to Speranta Terrei’s Centre for Tuberculosis Patients in Balti. The Centre was renovated in part through Global Giving donations. He comes for psychological counseling and to consult representatives of the Documentation Office during a meeting of the TB Club. He follows the conversation with the help of a hearing aid and notes the long list of certificates he must submit to replace the residency permit he lost in prison. The residency permit, called pasaport, is a lifeline for employment, health care, job training, social services, and voting in Moldova. The attached photo shows Igor listening as Cecilia, the head of the Documentation Office in Balti, explains the requirements. Cecilia says she is happy to come to the Centre, “where I can answer questions methodically to a handful of people and simplify the process for those in critical need of a pasaport.” 

Counseling from Speranta Terrei’s psychologist, Valerii, has helped Igor to recover from incarceration and TB. The attached photo shows them at the Centre in May. Igor talks of his love of wood carving. He says, “Working with my hands is healing and a way for me to cope.” With scrap wood donated from a university wood shop, Igor carves religious icons, utensils, and furniture. He says, “I want to carve a figure to decorate the Centre’s entrance, to show my gratitude to Speranta Terrei.” Igor shares his experience with new patients at TB Club meetings and helps them to understand that they can recover as well. We rejoice in his progress from a year ago, when his moderator, Liudmila, was bringing him TB drugs at home (see photo). 

At Speranta Terrei, treatment support is the start of our relationship with patients. We understand there are many sides to tuberculosis and healing takes more than TB drugs. It takes a long-term involvement with patients and thanks to your contributions, we are putting this into practice.

 

Igor talks to Valerii
Igor talks to Valerii
Igor takes TB drugs from Liudmila
Igor takes TB drugs from Liudmila
May 22, 2015

Centre for Tuberculosis Patients Opens

Ribbon Cutting
Ribbon Cutting

This year’s World Tuberculosis Day was momentous for Speranta Terrei as we opened the renovated Centre for Tuberculosis Patients in Balti. Every year on March 24, we commemorate World Tuberculosis Day by distributing information about TB symptoms and transmission in Balti and in villages in northern Moldova. This year, we commemorated it by welcoming 70 guests to our newly renovated Centre!

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony (photo attached), Dr. Elena Boleac of the Ministry of Health spoke of the importance of addressing social as well as medical dimensions of tuberculosis disease. The Centre has rooms where patients are given counseling, treatment adherence support, and assistance with documents and where homeless patients can bathe and wash clothes. For Speranta Terrei’s staff, the Centre is a comfortable place to work, conduct meetings, train moderators, and expand services to TB patients. Since the opening in March, 27 TB patients and family members have come to the Centre to participate in group discussions on TB stigma, complications of treatment, and social services available from local government. 

The renovation of the Centre lasted a year and involved extensive repairs, such as replacement of decayed pipes, raising of the ceiling, and completely new heating and ventilation systems. The constructors and Speranta Terrei’s staff went beyond the call of duty to ready the Centre for the opening celebration on World Tuberculosis Day. The attached photos show the guest table laden with traditional Moldovan bread and salt and our special young greeters with bags they presented to guests. TB doctors and public health and city officials at the ceremony agreed with the words printed on the bags, “Împreuna luptam împotriva tuberculozei!”, “Together we fight against tuberculosis!” 

The Centre’s renovation was made possible through a project funded by the German government’s agency GIZ and through donations sent via Global Giving. City Hall Balti allowed Speranta Terrei to establish the Centre in a municipal building adjacent to Family Physicians’ Centre Nr. 1. We are grateful to them and to you for helping us to realize our longstanding goal of a convenient and welcoming place for TB patients and families.

Speranta Terrei is seeking funds to cover operations and maintenance costs of the Centre. New donations through GlobalGiving will be used for this purpose. From our busy Centre, we send thanks in advance for your continuing generosity towards TB patients.

 

Guest Table
Guest Table
Greeting Guests
Greeting Guests
Feb 20, 2015

Report 17: Support 150 TB Patients in Moldova

Iulia helping Petru down the steps
Iulia helping Petru down the steps

Petru is far from Dancu village, but he is not far from the thoughts of his moderator (treatment supporter), Iulia. In an earlier Global Giving report, Speranta Terrei featured Petru and Iulia from Dancu, on the edge of Moldova’s western border with Romania. At the time, Iulia was taking anti-TB drugs to Petru so that he could complete treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Despite her vigilance, Petru interrupted the ambulatory treatment and is back in hospital. On a recent cold February day, Iulia along with Speranta Terrei’s psychologist, Valeri, made the long trek to Vorniceni MDR-TB Hospital to visit Petru. Vorniceni specializes in treatment of MDR-TB, which requires a longer and more toxic drug regimen than drug-susceptible TB

When Petru realized Iulia was in the visitors area of Vorniceni hospital, he said “Oh, my fairy Godmother is here, the one who tried to save me from this terrible disease.” Iulia visits only infrequently because of the expense and time to ride two buses to travel the 80 kilometers between Dancu and Vorniceni. Her concern for Petru is apparent. She had TB as a child and she continues to counsel him to complete his treatment regimen. 

As with many of Speranta Terrei’s TB patients, alcohol and tobacco are large obstacles between Petru’s illness and recovery. He says he has tried to stop, but slips back into old habits when he is with friends. On the day of the hospital visit, Petru told Iulia he wants to be cured and he has gained weight since returning to hospital in November. His hearing and sight are still weak and he needs help walking down steps. The attached photos show Iulia and Valeri helping Petru down the stairs at Vorniceni hospital and Iulia dispensing her reassuring words. 

Iulia has not given up on Petru. She asks rhetorically, “If I do not help him, who will?” She explained again to Petru how important it was for him to be cured and return to Dancu. In the attached photo, while bidding farewell and shaking hands, Iulia told Petru she will be looking for him soon in Dancu!

Thanks to our donors, Speranta Terrei and our moderators can look for our TB patients to come home cured. 

 

Iulia and Valeri taking Petru for a stroll
Iulia and Valeri taking Petru for a stroll
Petru listening intently to Iulia
Petru listening intently to Iulia
Iulia and Valeri bidding Petru farewell
Iulia and Valeri bidding Petru farewell
 
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