Support 150 Tuberculosis Patients in Moldova

by Speranta Terrei
Vetted
Ana Eating Soup
Ana Eating Soup

The simple act of sitting down to a bowl of hot soup meant much to Olga and her children, Artiom and Ana. They came to the Centre for Tuberculosis Patients to partake in Speranta Terrei’s Saturday lunch. Speranta Terrei started recently to serve a weekly lunch at its Centre to give sustenance to a few of the TB patients and homeless in our town, Balti.

Olga is a single mother of 5 children, the eldest an 11-year old disabled boy and the youngest a baby of 3 months. She was living in a public garden when Eugenia spotted her and noticed Olga was in a panic. Eugenia helps TB patients with social assistance applications at Speranta Terrei and invited the family to the Centre to discuss their situation and to try to find services for them. Galina, our intrepid homeless coordinator, took Olga for a TB diagnostic test. Eugenia assisted Olga with applications for temporary housing and social assistance. Thankfully, the TB test was negative and Olga is immensely relieved. She and the children have been in contact with people who had TB and Olga says “TB frightens me because I have seen its effects.” 

She says it is hard to express in words the warm feeling of being at a dining table with her children. After they left the Centre, Artiom and Ana asked her, “When are we going back there?” They were happy they could take a box of food with them for their siblings. The attached photos show Olga and Ana at the table and the family waving goodbye in front of the Centre. 

Your donations allow Speranta Terrei to reach those at risk of TB infection and to undertake preventive measures and prophylaxis treatment. In Moldova, as elsewhere, homelessness increases the risk of TB disease and the homeless are among the groups who should be screened for TB.

Many thanks for donating so that Speranta Terrei can fulfill the purpose of its Centre, a place where the vulnerable can find solace. A simple act carries a lot of meaning!

Olga Feeding Ana
Olga Feeding Ana
Family Waving Goodbye After Lunch
Family Waving Goodbye After Lunch
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
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
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
Galina and Children in the Morning
Galina and Children in the Morning

When you meet Galina in person, her spirit and confidence is more apparent than her hardscrabble background. In a Global Giving report two years ago, Speranta Terrei introduced Galina and her children when they were being treated for tuberculosis. Thanks to your donations, they have finished treatment and are rebuilding themselves. In the attached photos, Galina sends off her children to school on a recent rainy day.

Galina grew up on the streets of Balti, without a place to call home since she was 4 years old. Larger, older family members pushed her to panhandle and then collected her takings and doled out bits of food in the evening. From the age of 10, she was making small boxes from discarded banana cartons to sell for a few bani. Except for brief periods when her children were born, she was homeless for most of her life.

Speranta Terrei’s moderator, Olga, was moved to act when she saw how Galina, her son, Cristi, and her daughter, Angelina, fared on the streets. Olga realized that TB treatment would not be effective if they remained hungry and cold and exposed to reinfection. Galina recalls Olga’s daily visits for Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) and her kindness in sharing food and toys. She remembers the painful separation from her precious children during inpatient treatment at Balti TB Hospital, where she stayed in a room with 3 other patients for 2 months. Cristi and Angelina had to live at a children’s home 7 kilometers from Balti and they cried with joy when they were reunited with their mother. Speranta Terrei guided Galina through applications for such social services as short-term housing and job training for tailoring. 

Galina mends clothes to earn money and has become a moderator for 8 TB patients, 5 men and 3 women. Her own bout with TB makes it easy to persuade patients to adhere to treatment. She tells them “your life is in your own hands and you will be healthy if you respect this regimen.” Speranta Terrei’s patient coordinator, the older Galina, trained the younger Galina on community DOT and they visit each other’s patients when illness or family duties interfere with their moderator’s duties. The younger Galina still faces eviction from her rented apartment, but she is grateful for how far she has come and smiles and says, “I gained 2 kilos and my children are in school!”

In late October, many vivacious and talented singers and dancers joined Speranta Terrei to put on a charity concert at the Cultural Center of Balti. We express our gratitude to them and to the residents of Balti for raising their voices so that we could raise funds for the renovation of our Centre for Tuberculosis Patients. Galina, Cristi, and Angelina were in the front row in the concert hall and clapped along with us. They and we send you our bravos and wishes for good health in the new year. Un An Nou Fericit! La Multi Ani!

On a Rainy Day
On a Rainy Day
 

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Organization Information

Speranta Terrei

Location: Balti - Moldova, Republic of
Project Leader:
Feodora Rodiucova
Balti, Moldova, Republic of

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