Said Abbas fighting tuberculosis with the Red Crescent society of Kyrgyzstan

In the Suzak rayon near Jalal-Abad in southern Kyrgyzstan, medical student Said Abbas is actively working with the Red Crescent Society of Kyrgyzstan to defeat tuberculosis in the country.

With the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development, the USAID Defeat TB Project works closely with the Kyrgyz Red Crescent Society to inform the public about tuberculosis, and also help patients undergoing treatment.

Reaching out to TB patients in remote villages...

Said Abbas is one of 29 "Patronage Nurses" who currently support nearly 600 vulnerable people ill with tuberculosis to complete their treatment.

The treatment of tuberculosis is particularly difficult: it involves daily trips to a healthcare facility to take a mix of powerful medicines that often cause heavy side effects. For some, it can make work impossible, and if they are already experiencing financial difficulties, it can result in tragic consequences.

Some patients must take almost 20 pills every day...

This is why Patronage Nurses provide these patients with a bit of help to buy food, bring them medicine home when they are too ill to leave the house, and regularly contact their healthcare provider. It may not sound like much, but without this kind of help, and the moral support that comes with it, some patients would not be able to complete their treatment.

On a hot day in July, Said Abbas traveled to a small village near Jalal-Abad to visit Jainagul who has been under treatment for 14 months.

Over time, Said Abbas and Jainagul's family have become quite close, like good friends, and many times over he stayed for lunch after his visit.
"When he first met me, I was depressed, angry, suffering from side effects, and also felt very isolated" explains Jainagul. "The help I received allowed me to stay positive and commit to complete my treatment".
Witnessing a critical discussion...

One day when Said Abbas was visiting Jainagul, he heard about a 22 year old neighbor who had recently been diagnosed with tuberculosis but refused treatment, mostly because he did not know enough about it to make an informed decision. Said Abbas did not hesitate to reach out to him and explain how the treatment truly works. This convinced the young man who agreed to meet with Doctor Mursaliev the very next day.

Said Abbas and Doctor Mursaliev discuss the treatment progress of TB patients under their care.

A few times per week, Said Abbas meets with Doctor Khaitbai Mursaliev, a TB specialist in the Family Medical Center of the Suzak Rayon. They discuss the progress of each patient's treatment and share ideas on how best to support them to fully complete it.

"Said Abbas greatly helps me in my work" says Doctor Mursaliev, "He can provide me with a lot of important information about my patients".
Ravshan and his wife at the monthly food voucher distribution for TB patients.

Another important activity that the USAID Defeat TB Project and the Red Crescent Society of Kyrgyzstan are implementing with the support of USAID is the monthly distribution of food vouchers to vulnerable TB patients. This allows these patients to make ends meet, and also ensure that they have the necessary nutrition to stay strong and healthy while they heal.

"The treatment give me harsh side effects, like hearing loss, vomiting, and trembling, so I had to quit my truck driving job" explains Ravshan, "The food vouchers really helps, probably just as much as the moral support that comes with it".
TB patients like Anarkhan can select what they need in participating grocery stores, up to a total of $15 per month, which goes a long way in Kyrgyzstan for buying staple food items.
In a local market in the Suzak rayon near Jalal-Abad, Said Abbas gathers people for a short information session on tuberculosis.

As a means to reduce discrimination against tuberculosis patient, and also to increase detection & diagnosis rates Kyrgyzstan, it is important to inform the public about the disease. Different methods may be used for this, but one that proves particularly effective is in-person outreach and communication.

Said Abbas regularly visits the markets and bazaars in the Jalal-Abad region where he is never shy to gather people around for short information sessions.

Over the past two years, Red Crescent workers and volunteers like Said Abbas, in partnership with the the USAID Defeat TB Project, reached more than 68,000 households in areas prone to risks of higher TB prevalence.

Over the same period, the network of Patronage Nurses helped more than 2,500 vulnerable people with tuberculosis symptoms to undergo testing, and around 1,900 patients to complete their treatment.

The USAID Defeat TB Project is a five-year endeavor designed to reduce the burden of tuberculosis (TB) in the Kyrgyz Republic. Its implementation limits the development of drug-resistant strains of the disease, supports equitable access to quality health care for vulnerable groups, and strengthens the national healthcare system.

This publication is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of Abt Associates Inc. and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
Created By
Defeat TB Project USAID


Olivier Le Blanc

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