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Posts tagged "Romania"
‘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…

Romanian Government Approves National TB Control Strategy through 2020

Romanian Government Approves National TB Control Strategy through 2020

The Romanian government approved the National Strategy for TB Control for the period 2015-2020. The Strategy aims to reduce TB incidence and mortality by providing prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and an increased adherence to treatment as recommended by WHO. Despite progress in the last 12 years, Romania still has one of the highest rates of TB in the European Union. It is four times above the EU average, and it has one of the lowest rates of treatment success with rising rates of TB infections. The National Strategy is based on scientific studies conducted in both the country and WHO recommendations. It is an essential programmatic document that will allow for a more rigorous and effective approach to combat TB. The country has ambitious targets to eliminate TB as a public health problem in Romania by 2015. By 2020, the Strategy aims to ensure universal access to rapid diagnostic methods and diagnose at least 85% of all TB cases, including MDR-TB cases. It also hopes to achieve the successful treatment of at least 90% of new cases, and 85% of re-treatments, reduce overall mortality rates and strengthen the health system’s capacity to control TB. Source:  Stop TB Partnership For more More…

Former MDR-TB patient and TB advocate, Marina, meets with the European Parliament

Former MDR-TB patient and TB advocate, Marina, meets with the European Parliament

Between 18th and 19th November, TB Europe Coalition members, RESULTS UK and Global Health Advocates, had the exciting opportunity to welcome Marina to Brussels to brief decision-makers on the severity of the TB epidemic (TB) in the European Union (EU). Marina fought two years to defeat multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and is now a great advocate on the issue.  By bringing the perspective of MDR-TB patients, Marina highlighted the urgent need for action at regional level to fight TB and ensure the rights of TB patients. Marina’s story illustrates perfectly why the EU institutions and member states must work together as opposed to national governments acting alone. Marina, a Romanian citizen who now lives in the UK after studying for a degree in law at the University of Manchester, was studying abroad in France, when she first developed a cough that would not go away. This cough 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.  While Marina began to suspect she had TB, an illness that is quite common in Romania, doctors in France were failing to diagnose her. She therefore travelled More…

TB in Romania: For Patients Waiting for XDR-TB Treatment in Romania, Someday Never Comes

TB in Romania: For Patients Waiting for XDR-TB Treatment in Romania, Someday Never Comes

In March 2014, Jonathan Stillo, a member of TB Europe Coalition’s Steering Committee, participated in the joint World Health Organization (WHO) and European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) National Tuberculosis (TB) Program Review in Romania on a team of eleven international and fifteen national experts. This blog does not necessarily reflect the positions of WHO or ECDC and should be seen as one research and advocacy expert’s opinion that is informed by eight years of working in Romania. The published 2014 review of Romania’s TB program should be available in early autumn. Right now, 30,000 Romanians have various forms of TB. This is by far the largest number in the European Union (EU), accounting for about 25% of all cases in member states. Over the past ten years, the overall TB incidence in Romania has dropped steadily. However, even after this reduction, Romania’s TB incidence and prevalence eclipse all other EU countries. The Romanian incidence rate is presently more than five times the EU average and about twenty times higher than low incidence countries such as Germany. Romania also has the largest number of drug resistant TB cases in the EU. About 1,500 people are living now with Multi-Drug Resistant More…

TB in Romania: mapping the needs

TB in Romania: mapping the needs

The Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation and the Association for MDR-TB Patients Support conducted in February – March a survey among Romanian TB and MDR-TB patients, their families and specialists working in the field, in order to pinpoint the patients’ social, psychological and medical needs. The survey report was published in June and it shows the main needs reported by patients or identified by the professionals who work with them.  Context In 2013, more than 15,000 cases of tuberculosis (TB) have been diagnosed in Romania. According to the statistics provided by the National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP), 30,000 people with TB, MDR-TB and XDR-TB were under treatment in Romania in 2011, of which 65% were men. Under-diagnosis of patients with resistant tuberculosis combined with high estimates of the number of such cases is perhaps the most serious problems the Romanian system of tuberculosis prevention and control is facing today. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), about 800 new MDR/XDR-TB cases should be diagnosed annually in Romania, but in reality only about 400 new cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) are identified. In the context of a severe underfunding of the National Tuberculosis Programme, 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…

It couldn’t happen to me? Living with MDR-TB in Romania

It couldn’t happen to me? Living with MDR-TB in Romania

Today we’re posting a second blog from Tom Maguire’s, part of the Campaigns Team at RESULTS UK, visit to Romania. During his time, Tom met with a young woman called Cristina to discuss her experience of living with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). This guest blog from Cristina shows the huge impact MDR-TB can have on a young woman’s life and the level of courage and determination that is needed to complete two years of treatment. You hear about it on TV but you think “Neah! It couldn’t happen to me”. And then it does. And you’re confused, thinking what you’ve done wrong, why did it pick you, until finally you realize you’ve done nothing wrong, you weren’t chosen, you’re just a percentage of those who catch TB, one of the poor, the malnourished or in my case simply unlucky. It all started in September 2012. I’d got  a cold – at least that’s what I thought – and I decided to go to the doctor (till today I don’t know why because it didn’t seem to be something severe). He consulted me, gave me some pills and told me to come for another check in few days. I took the More…

Tuberculosis in Romania: Tackling TB in Romania's Prisons

Tuberculosis in Romania: Tackling TB in Romania’s Prisons

Tom Maguire from the RESULTS UK campaigns team spent two weeks during December in Romania creating a short video and photo-story on drug-resistant TB. In this blog post he discusses some of the innovative measures that have been introduced in Romania’s prisons to reduce TB rates. Despite having one of the highest rates of TB and multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in Eastern Europe (30,000 people currently have TB in Romania and 1,500 people die from it every year), Romania’s TB rates in prisons are remarkably low.  Historically, TB rates have been drastically higher in prisons than in the general population for two reasons.  Firstly, prisoners are usually more likely to come from communities where TB rates are high. Secondly, once a person enters the prison system, prison conditions – including overcrowding, poor ventilation and poor nutrition – help the disease to spread. This isn’t just a problem in low- and middle-income countries; case rates of TB in prisons are among the highest recorded in any population globally, including here in the UK. In 2002, TB in Romania was 20-times higher than rates in the general population. Recognising the scale of the problem, the National TB Program in Romania applied for More…

TB civil society demand zero TB deaths, new infections, suffering and stigma!

TB civil society demand zero TB deaths, new infections, suffering and stigma!

The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease started off with a bang today in Paris as civil society actors stormed the stage demanding faster progress towards eliminating TB and a target of zero TB deaths. The group of advocates brought so much needed energy and, importantly, some much needed urgency to the room as they called for greater ambition in the work done in attempting to eliminate tuberculosis. TB Europe Coalition members were at the forefront of the mobilisation, with representatives from Moldova, Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, France, Belgium, the UK and the Ukraine all taking to the stage to make their voices heard and make their national representatives take note. After advocates from across Europe, Central Asia and from most corners of the world had stormed the stage, Colleen Daniels from Treatment Action Group made an impassioned speech challenging those in the room to aim higher in the fight against TB. More ambition, like that is seen in the HIV community, is critical in order to get to: zero TB deaths, zero new TB infections, zero suffering and stigma. The mobilisation ended with the audience taking to their feet and applauding to the calls for zero TB deaths. More…

TB: Voices in the fight against the European epidemic

TB: Voices in the fight against the European epidemic

The TB Europe Coalition recently released an updated version of our report ‘Tuberculosis: Voices in the fight against the European epidemic‘. Here we tell the story of Iulian. Since we first published Iulian’s story in our report, Iulian developed XDR-TB and passed away in spring of 2012, leaving behind a wife and two children. Iulian spent his life working in agriculture and construction. Until he got sick with TB he had what he called a ‘beautiful life’. Here is his story: Iulian contracted TB in 2007 and soon developed MDR-TB. At first he took his medication regularly, but he was forced to interrupt his treatment to go back to work so that he could support his family. When he returned home to restart treatment, his local dispensary ran out of one of the four drugs needed to treat his MDR-TB, meaning only part of his treatment was available. Drug stock-outs cause patients to lose faith in the system and increase the likelihood that patients develop drug resistance due to uneven treatment. When asked about how TB made him feel, Iulian explained: I always feel that I have this disease. I have this fear in my hear that I’m never going to More…

TBVI’s annual report features TBEC advocate Jon Stillo

TBVI’s annual report features TBEC advocate Jon Stillo

The Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI) has launched their annual report reviewing 2012 and outlining their strategy over the coming years to develop new globally accessible and affordable TB vaccines. Their report also includes an interview with Jonathan Stillo, a medical anthropologist living in Romania who also sits on TBEC’s steering committee. Here is an excerpt from Jon’s interview: Romania, where Jonathan Stillo is carrying out his research project, has a high rate of tuberculosis and one of the worst drug-resistant TB cure rates in the entire world. With his stories, Stillo tries to highlight how badly TB patients in Romania are treated. Apart from the insufficient medical treatment, there are numerous side issues. “It’s not a problem that cannot be solved,” says the researcher. “I have spoken with a lot of doctors who feel a huge amount of guilt. They want to treat their patients, but they lack rapid diagnosis and especially the medications to fight drug-resistant TB. But I have American optimism, I tell their stories, I try and attract attention. I try to be a catalyst. TB is a serious public health threat for the entire region; unfortunately, most Romanian decision-makers do not understand the threat.” Jon also More…

Plight of Romania's TB fight

Plight of Romania’s TB fight

The difficulty faced fighting tuberculosis (TB) in Romania has been highlighted this week in a video produced for Al Jazeera. The short but highly informative news item notes how the dual problem of a lack of adequate funding combined with entrenched social stigma make fighting the disease incredibly difficult. Many TB patients simply don’t want to believe that they have TB due to the associated stigma, something which also means that many do not get treated. This is exacerbated by the fact that there is not enough funding to screen patients or check that patients are finishing their course. Romania spends only $6 million on tackling TB, well below the $22 million the World Health Organisation suggest is necessary. There are civil society organisations and activists who are doing all they can to change attitudes and ensure that patients get the treatment they need. However, this must be combined with greater political will and increased funding if we hope to eradicate TB fully.  

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