Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova

by Speranta Terrei
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova
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
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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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Angela Walks to Veaceslav's Apartment
Angela Walks to Veaceslav's Apartment

Veaceslav has stopped and restarted treatment for tuberculosis (TB) many times over a decade. “This time,” he says, “I am on my final run”.  Drug abuse interfered each time he started TB treatment, his addiction outlasting his will to be cured. Drug abuse led to prison and it was in prison he was diagnosed again with TB as well as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) co-infection. In 2019, out of prison, he consulted a family doctor who sent him for a TB diagnostic test. The result of the Gene X-pert test showed he had multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and additional tests showed not only his lungs, but his kidneys and bladder were affected. 

When staff at the Balti TB dispensary noted that kidney and leg pain made walking difficult for Veaceslav, they requested a treatment supporter (moderator) from Speranta Terrei to take medication to him at home. Angela has been his moderator since last August, giving him Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) daily, consisting of 6 anti-TB drugs. When he told Angela he felt side effects, sleeplessness and achy muscles and limbs, she arranged an appointment with his TB doctor. After his doctor adjusted the drug regimen in January, his side effects eased and Veaceslav felt more able to continue treatment. He expresses his respect for Angela, saying, “her support gives me strength, I will keep taking TB medicine”.

When drug abuse was consuming him, Veaceslav’s family life fell apart and his wife and child left him. He lives with his mother, Maria, who tends to him and he shows her he is grateful. Angela says, “I like to visit Veaceslav and Maria. We talk openly about the twists and turns of life and he regrets especially he lost his family. He is determined to overcome addiction and TB.”

Veaceslav and his mother and all of us at Speranta Terrei thank you, our GlobalGiving donors, for supporting TB patients who need us the most.

 

Angela Explains Side Effects to Veaceslav
Angela Explains Side Effects to Veaceslav
Angela Gives Pills to Veaceslav
Angela Gives Pills to Veaceslav
Veaceslav Drinks Pills
Veaceslav Drinks Pills
Veaceslav Speaks of His Past
Veaceslav Speaks of His Past
Veaceslav Embraces His Mother
Veaceslav Embraces His Mother
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Pasa, Dan & Family Welcome Galina
Pasa, Dan & Family Welcome Galina

Speranta Terrei’s long-time treatment supporter, Galina, sees joy and pain in an afternoon of home visits to tuberculosis (TB) patients in Balti. On a recent day in October, Galina looked in on two children who completed prophylaxis treatment; gave their grandmother who has drug-susceptible TB her daily regimen of drugs; and gave a paralyzed multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) patient his daily regimen of drugs. At each stop, she showed her distinctive blend of empathy and firmness towards her charges, who welcomed her presence and her words of advice. 

Her first stop was to see how one-year old Dan and his two-year old brother, Pasa, were faring a month after their treatment ended and they had a final x-ray. The boys live with their father, Ruslan, mother, Ina, and other family in a decrepit apartment with no running water, electricity, or heat. Galina says, “Dan and Pasa gladly took the drugs, they held out their little hands for the spoon where I put their half-pill dose.” Dan was all smiles when he saw Galina. She said it was not easy to find the family. When the TB dispensary doctor requested Galina to give them Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) as contacts of their grandmother, the family had moved. Galina had to sleuth around Balti to find them. Having been a treatment supporter (moderator) for 13 years with Speranta Terrei, Galina can find her way to any needy TB patient in Balti.

Her second stop was the grandmother, Rosalina, who had TB 15 years ago and then was diagnosed again last autumn. She fell ill one night, had difficulty breathing, and was taken in an ambulance to the hospital. Rosalina says, “I was in the hospital for 3 months, I had pills, injections, and infusions and then the doctor said to me, you have TB.” Rosalina praised Galina for her steadfast help, referring to her as Mama Gala. On top of TB, Rosalina has severe tooth decay. Because of intense tooth pain and lack of money for dental treatment, she extracted her own teeth and damaged her mouth and face while doing this.

Galina’s third stop was Mihail, who had interrupted treatment 4 years ago when he was diagnosed with TB the first time. Last year, he was hospitalized following a stroke and this time the diagnosis was the more serious form, MDR-TB. He was sent to Vorniceni, the specialized MDR-TB hospital in Moldova, for 8 months. Since he returned to Balti in March, Galina has been bringing him anti-TB drugs. His current regimen consists of 7 pills and 2 powders and Galina mixes the powder with water and Mihail takes the cup with his usable left hand. He did not have rehabilitation therapy after the stroke and the right side of his body is paralyzed. He says, “my brother comes to help me and brings me food.” His brother had a TB test and, thankfully, the result was negative.

As she was leaving Mihail’s house, Galina was still smiling. She says, “Yes, I see a lot of need. If Dan, Pasa, Rosalina, and Mihail beat TB, then I will have done my part.” Speranta Terrei is able to send out Galina on her rounds of TB patients thanks to your donations. We wish you, our donors, a Happy New Year, Un An Nou Fericit!

Dan Greets Galina
Dan Greets Galina
Rosalina Takes Pills from Galina
Rosalina Takes Pills from Galina
Rosalina Extracted Her Own Teeth
Rosalina Extracted Her Own Teeth
Mihail Takes Diluted Powder from Galina
Mihail Takes Diluted Powder from Galina
Galina Still Smiling
Galina Still Smiling
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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
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Organization Information

Speranta Terrei

Location: Balti - Moldova, Republic of
Project Leader:
Feodora Rodiucova
Balti, Moldova, Republic of
$131,745 raised of $180,000 goal
 
662 donations
$48,255 to go
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