To Be a TB Patient in Chechnya (Videonews)
March 24 is “World Tuberculosis (TB) Day”. A Chechen woman explain to be a TB patient in Chechnya for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) which has been implementing TB treatment and support programmes in Chechnya since 2004.
The slideshow was prepared by MSF:
We have also deciphered the slideshow for our readers:
“The patients featured in a slideshow are all being treated for TB in Grozny. One of them, a mother of two, shares her story. Her experiences are not uncommon for people living with TB in Chechnya:
Here, in the North Caucasus, it’s extremely damp. This dampness would kill anyone. During the war, people lived in basemenets for months. In our basement there was a water tank and we kept a mug in it. Everyone would use it – now it’s mine and half an hour later, it’s yours-whether it is washed or not. I’ve been sick with TB since 2006. When I hospitalised for the first time, I spent four months there. My husband drank and there was nobody to watch children. Then I got sick for the second time. I spent six months in hospital – the full term. But it turned out that the medicines I was taking didn’t work, I was resistant to them. Now, I have to go to Makhachkala in Dagestan repeatedly to test my sputum for resistance. They ask me: “Why do you come here?” And I reply: “If I could do this test in Chechnya why would I drive 500 km, all the way across the republic?“. What I really feel now is that I am fighting a race against time and it’s one thing I can’t afford to lose. Human lives are turning into statistics. Death for some, is incredibly painful, it’s the loss of a loved one, for others it’s just another small piece of local news: someone’s gone… And for others still, it is just an entry in the record-book: one more death. There is a huge difference between there three attitudes… People have had something very important taken from them! People die every day here. From when they are brought in, they already look bad, emaciated, dying… Yesterday someone came and today he died, another the day before and today he also died. There are so many of us today – those with detected TB cases and so many undetected! There are millions of us. So many of us… I just need a little push, a little help… I’m ready to fight this. And what would help me is good medicines. And now these girls (MSF TB educators) come to us often and they tell us about the treatment. They give us all the information. This hospital hallway is full of TB patients for days on end. I just want to ask: why do we need all this beauty and luxury when we’re dying, when we’re just dying out? We infect each other in the road, at the market, in theatres, in schools, in universities… Why can’t we just open one hospital and cure the sick? Why do we need the gardens of Eden? The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in Chechnya is high.
Over two recent military campaigns, TB services infrastructure has been completely destroyed and medical equipment demolished. Mass migrations of people, bad living conditions, malnutrition, climate and other factors to contribute to its deterioration today..
There are only 400 TB beds in hospitals and no children’s or sanatorium beds at all. General practitioners, through lack of recent practice, have lost some of their skills in TB diagnostics; another factor contributing to the increased prevalence of hard treat, resistant forms of TB.”
Background note: The Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Tuberculosis (TB) program in Chechnya has treated over 3500 patients since its inception in 2004. The program covers the entire republic, providing support to the medical staff in five district tuberculosis (TB) dispensaries: Gudermes, Nadterechny, Shali, Shelkovskoy and Grozny. MSF teams train health care workers on standard protocols of tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment monitoring, as well as registration and reporting in TB facilities.
MSF has provided quality drugs for treatment, laboratory consumables, and food for patients and staff. They have also implemented infection control measures and health care waste management and ensured minimum water and sanitation standards in the health facilities. They provide patient support by monitoring the patients’ adherence to the TB treatment.