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Women
‘The Disease Does not Discourage Me, It Makes Me Stronger’, Says a 28 Years Old Romanian Woman Living with TB

‘The Disease Does not Discourage Me, It Makes Me Stronger’, Says a 28 Years Old Romanian Woman Living with TB

An article recently published in the newsletter of the Romanian Pulmonology Institute “Marius Nasta”, edited in partnership with the Romanian Angel Appeal Fund, tells the story of a young woman diagnosed with MDR-TB. The patient, taken to the Municipal Hospital because of food poisoning, had a chest X-ray among other tests, and discovered that she had multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Contrary to her worst expectations, she found out that it would take more than three months in hospital and between six to eight months at home to treat the disease. She used to live in a village in Teleorman County, but had to work long hours at a real estate agency in Bucharest, occasionally even skipping meals. That is how her immune system weakened, as she assumes, and she caught TB. However, she decided not to be let down by her disease, but rather to gather all her strength for the sake of her father and sister, who together with our heroine went through the experience of losing their mother just five years before. “The disease does not discourage me, it makes me stronger”, she says, as she talks about the determination to change her life style, as well as the necessity More…

Access to health care critical for internally displaced Roma in Ukraine

Access to health care critical for internally displaced Roma in Ukraine

Europe is home for 12 to 15 million members of the Roma minority whose living experience exposes them to marginalization, which is manifest in health status: Roma exhibit some of the worst morbidity and mortality indicators in the Europe region. The World Bank, the UNDP, and the Council of Europe report that TB is more prevalent in Roma communities and that the Roma are more vulnerable to TB. An earlier report ‘Confronting a Hidden Disease: TB in Roma Communities’ described governmental and NGO activities to address TB in Roma communities and recommended areas for program expansion. In March 2015, a hearing took place in Brussels at the European Economic and Social Committee “European funds for Roma health integration”, attended by more than 40 participants: experts in health issues, NGOs, representatives of the European Commission, Council of Europe, Fundamental Rights Agency, national contact points. It was organized by AMALIPE Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance (Bulgaria), Roma Center for Public Health Policies SASTIPEN (Romania) and European Roma Information Office (Brussels, Belgium) with the support of Roma Health Project, Open Society Foundations. The Member of European Parliament of Roma origin Damian Draghichi spoke on the connection between health with education, housing and employment. More…

Marina's story - fighting drug resistant TB in 3 different countries

Marina’s story – fighting drug resistant TB in 3 different countries

Marina is a Romanian citizen who was studying law at the University of Manchester in the UK when she was diagnosed with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). Marina was studying abroad in Lyon, France in summer 2012 when she developed a cough that would not go away. Her symptoms led her down a long road of doctors and tests as various French doctors struggled to identify a disease many believe no longer exists in Europe. One doctor even diagnosed Marina with hay fever and gave her medicines to ease hay fever symptoms. Despite multiple doctor visits, Marina’s symptoms failed to subside. Marina began to suspect her condition could be related to her lungs – possibly TB – after researching her symptoms online. Marina found a clinic that offered TB tests and had a lung x-ray done. The x-ray established there was something seriously wrong with her lungs, and she was referred for a CT scan. The CT scan confirmed there was a problem with her lungs but couldn’t determine what it was specifically, so Marina was referred for a bronchoscopy – a procedure in which a doctor interested a tube attached to a camera through Marina’s nose and down her airways to examine More…

The Burden of TB on Women: A Call to Action

The Burden of TB on Women: A Call to Action

“All my problems started with tuberculosis. I can say that tuberculosis destroyed my family since my father became ill… He was sick in the hospital a lot, my mom was by herself with no money… My family struggled, got in a lot of debt, which in a few years led to their not having a home… They were left on the street because of tuberculosis.”  Mariana, Bucharest, Romania This post is brought to you by Jonathan Stillo, an anthropologist who has been researching TB in Romania since 2006. He has interviewed over 100 patients as well as dozens of doctors and NGO representatives, visited numerous hospitals and sanatoria and even lived at one large sanatorium for several months. Jonathan tells the following stories of two young Romanian women and their experiences with TB. Women in Romania face special challenges when they or a loved one becomes infected with tuberculosis (TB). When women contract TB, they are often forced to choose between the welfare of their families and their own health.  Frequently, it is the work of caring for a sick relative, such as a father or husband, which first exposes Romanian women to TB.  Once infected, it becomes much more More…

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