Posted by: blog4globalhealth | 03/23/2011

WITHOUT COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS, MDR-TB RUNS RAMPANT

Angela Orlov has multidrug-resistant TB and HIV but cannot get a space in the local TB hospital in Balti, Moldova.

Angela Orlov has multidrug-resistant TB and HIV and is so weak that she is often unable to get out of bed. She is thin and tired, and her health is rapidly deteriorating. She is trying to get admitted to the local TB hospital, but so far has been unable to do so. Every day Galina Zaporojan, a volunteer health worker with a local NGO, brings Angela her TB medicine to make sure that she is able to adhere to her treatment. Speranta Terrei, the NGO that Galina works with, is the only organization working in Balti, the town with Moldova’s highest TB rate.

One of the biggest obstacles in the struggle to contain tuberculosis is finding ways that make it easy for patients to adhere to the often long and arduous treatment process. Even the mildest cases of TB require months of daily medication that can have uncomfortable side effects, and it is common for patients to skip days or stop the treatment altogether if they begin to feel better. This is a result of little awareness or education about the disease and its treatment, sub-par health care systems, and the fact that many of the patients live in difficult economic situations and sometimes must decide between getting to the hospital to take their medicine or getting to work to feed their family. Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) can arise when patients incorrectly take their treatment, or default altogether. These strains of the disease are deadlier than traditional TB and require longer and more difficult treatment regiments, making it even harder to ensure that patients adhere to the treatment for MDR-TB.

Read the full blog on the Pulitzer Center’s website.

See David Rochkind’s article and multi-media piece Moldova: What Happens to MDR-TB Patients.



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