Routine visit to Alisher’s house by the community Health worker (Firuza Dadozhodzhayeva) of “Anti AIDS” NGO

Routine visit to Alisher’s house by the community Health worker (Firuza Dadozhodzhayeva) of “Anti AIDS” NGO

Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) can be successfully treated today; however, the treatment course can take as long as two years and side effects can be severe if not appropriately addressed. The rate of MDR-TB treatment success is largely dependent on a patient’s socioeconomic circumstances as patients from marginalized groups are particularly vulnerable to dropping out of treatment. That is why ensuring patients’ adherence to TB treatment through a patient-centered approach that engages communities and civil society organizations, is critical to the success of MDR-TB treatment outcomes.

Consistent with the principles of the WHO End TB Strategy, Project Hope’s interventions in Tajikistan (within the framework of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria TB grant) have provided a robust foundation for building a strong coalition in which communities and civil society organizations play a crucial role in combatting TB. Trained members of civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGO) have a unique capacity through patient education and psychosocial support to reach out to their communities to ensure that TB and MDR-TB patients make full recovery.

One such patient for whom Project HOPE’s community-based initiatives were life-changing is Alisher Latipov. A family man from the Spitamen district in Tajikistan’s Sughd region, Alisher was in high demand for his exceptional construction skills and work ethic. With a large family to support, Alisher spent all of his time away at construction sites where he lived for weeks at a time in close quarters with other construction workers. This is how Alisher got infected with MDR-TB.

Thanks to Project HOPE’s TB patient-centered initiatives implemented in the Sughd region, Anti-AIDS –a local NGO– integrated Alisher into its TB social support program. Under the program, Firuza Dadozhodzhaevaca –a social worker– visited Alisher on a daily basis to observe and counsel him on his treatment, support him and his family, and raise TB awareness within his community. Anti-AIDS was also instrumental in securing disability benefits for Alisher and his family. Such a patient-centered approach ensured successful completion by Alisher of the MDR-TB treatment and return to health, ultimately providing him with a new lease on life.

But Alisher initially faced setbacks in his recovery. Fearing the stigma associated with this disease, he repeatedly dropped out of treatment. The stigma was also the main reason why Alisher’s wife left him. As soon as he felt better, Alisher wanted to discontinue treatment and be reunited with family. This is where Firuza’s role was instrumental. She persuaded Alisher every day to remain in treatment, counseled his family about the disease, and helped with completing paperwork for securing disability benefits. Thanks to the support from Firuza and Anti-AIDS, Alisher has fully recovered, reunited with his family, and returned to construction work. He was even able to finish building his own home for his family. Every day, Alisher is reminded how fortunate he is to have had Firuza’s support in his recovery from MDR-TB.

Tajikistan’s National TB Program has fully embraced the patient-centered approach and collaboration between communities and civil society organizations in combating TB and MDR-TB as a model for other communities to follow and has included its elements in Tajikistan’s application to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for a new financial mechanism. Project Hope had an opportunity to share the results of the successful implementation of this model that was so crucial to the recovery of Alisher and many other MDR-TB patients at the 46th World Conference on Lung Health in Cape Town, South Africa, in December 2015.

This blog was prepared by Surayo Odinaeva (Project HOPE), Mavluda Rufieva (NGO Anti-AIDS), Asker Ismayilov (Project HOPE)


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