Cobbler Arsene Avchyam overcame TB after months of treatment. Now he makes sure his friends, and even his customers, learn more about this potentially deadly illness.
Arsene was applying for a job when a medical test showed he had TB. At first, the father of two from Ashgabat was terrified. “It was a hard time for me.”
After two months of hospital treatment, Arsene still needed to take a four-month course of medication. The pills can have nasty side-effects, such as making you sick, dizzy or tired. But Arsene completed his treatment with help from the Red Crescent Society of Turkmenistan.
A Red Crescent nurse motivated him, making sure he always came to the clinic and watching to ensure he took the right pills in the right way. Arsene says: “If I was late, she phoned and insisted on me coming.” He jokes: “She was very demanding.”
Vital food parcels
Arsene’s illness meant he could not work, so finding the money to buy groceries was extremely difficult. Without a good diet, he would find it harder to take his medication.
That’s why the Red Crescent gave him food parcels full of essential foods like flour, pasta, condensed milk and cooking oil.
With his illness cured, Arsene’s life was back on track. But he knew there were other people with TB on his street – and that some didn’t know where to turn for help. So he brought them to the Red Crescent.
And at his shoe-repair workshop in one of the city’s bazaars, he offers customers advice and Red Crescent leaflets about the illness. So as well as a fix for their shoes, they can get some vital health advice.
- In 2015, the Red Crescent is aiming to help 370 people complete their TB treatment – and 26,200 members of the public learn the facts about the illness. Read more about the programme, which is supported by the British Red Cross.