All over the world, nurses are on the front lines of patient care and support, often filling critical gaps in care in remote, rural areas where doctors are in short supply. Tajikistan is no exception.
Gulmira Abduqodirova, a nurse in the Lyakhsh district in northeast Tajikistan has spent more than 20 years traveling regularly to the most remote corners of her district to make sure residents receive the care they need.
“Working hand-in-hand with community health committees brings TB care closer to residents, helps us find and refer people with potential TB symptoms for testing, and supports patients so they complete their TB treatment. Thanks to these joint efforts, TB mortality in our district has dropped to zero.” – Gulmira Abduqodirova
Photo: USAID TB Control Program
The Lyakhsh district’s half dozen villages span some of the most treacherous terrain in Tajikistan. In 2015, when a major avalanche blocked all roads for three weeks, Abduqodirova became the only healthcare provider in her village for patients with tuberculosis (TB), who require daily medication and support. Committed to providing every patient with the best medical care, this sprightly grandmother of nine frequently traveled on foot for days to neighboring communities to see patients and counsel their families.
Recognizing Abduqodirova’s hard work and unwavering commitment to helping others under extremely difficult circumstances, the district authorities asked her to serve as the chief nurse at the district TB center, which had recently lost its only doctor. Over the course of the next two years, Abduqodirova received training from USAID in specialized TB care, new treatment regimens, and support centered on the needs of patients and their families. She was invited to Tajikistan’s capital to attend conferences, workshops, and classes on the latest approaches to treating TB. With USAID’s support, she also traveled to other cities across the country to share her knowledge and experience.
In recognition of her vast clinical experience and enhanced professional skills, in 2017 Abduqodirova was promoted to Director of the Lyakhsh District TB Center. Her advocacy for improved TB care ultimately resulted in additional funding from the district authorities for the construction of a new TB care facility where Abduqodirova and her staff now work. She also bolstered the partnership with the local community health committee, whose members provide TB outreach and education, support that encourages TB patients to stay in treatment, and referrals for those at risk for contracting TB.
“Working hand-in-hand with community health committees brings TB care closer to residents, helps us find and refer people with potential TB symptoms for testing, and supports patients so they complete TB treatment. Thanks to these joint efforts, TB deaths in our district have dropped to zero,” reflects Abduqodirova.
Though Abduqodirova’s new position carries additional administrative responsibilities, she always puts patients first and provides them with the support and encouragement they need to get healthy. Patients and district residents respect her and trust her. In April 2018, at a USAID-supported national ceremony commemorating World TB Day, Abduqodirova was recognized by the National TB Program and fellow TB care providers as the Best TB Nurse in Tajikistan.
Since 2015, the USAID TB Control Program has trained more than 4,000 doctors and nurses in Tajikistan to improve access to and quality of TB care and prevention for those who are located in the most remote areas of the country.
USAID supports Tajikistan’s Ministry of Health to implement its National TB Program by providing more effective and accessible TB prevention, diagnostics, treatment, and care for all, including vulnerable populations. The main objective of the five-year USAID TB Control Program is to reduce the burden of TB and prevent drug-resistant forms of the disease in Tajikistan. The program runs from 2014 to 2019.
Press release written by USAid and shared by Project Hope.
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