©InfoAlthough TB is curable, without treatment it can be fatal and the stigma faced by those with the disease is astounding. The Kyrgyzstan Red Crescent is addressing these issues through community activities and communications that combat fear and lack of information.
This includes raising awareness of the disease through classes in schools, leaflet distribution and radio announcements in markets and workplaces.
As well as the educational aspect of the programme, Red Crescent nurses help people living with TB complete their treatment by providing social and psychological support during home visits.
Rising levels of TB
High levels of poverty, HIV and migration are exacerbating the issue of TB in Kyrgyzstan. For TB treatment to be successful it must not be interrupted. However as treatment lasts for several months some patients, who may have little knowledge of the disease, don’t complete their course of medication.
This has led to a rise in drug-resistant TB, which means the TB will not respond to at least one of the main drugs used to treat the disease, making it more difficult to cure people. Increased awareness on TB is vital to encourage early detection and treatment, as well as ensuring treatment is completed.
The Kyrgyzstan Red Crescent works with the National Tuberculosis Programme and other organisations, contributing to national efforts to control and reduce the spread of the disease. Its programme, which is supported by the British Red Cross, runs in the capital Bishkek, and the provinces of Chuy, Osh and Jalalabad.
Filling the social gap
©InfoThe Red Crescent co-ordinates its work with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and its social approach to TB complements the medical approach of the state.
Jelena, MoH representative in Kara Balta, says: “We work very closely with the Red Crescent and I have a lot of respect for the organisation; while we hold dull roundtable meetings the Red Crescent is always doing something dynamic to reach people, such as putting on a play in the community.”
See below for stories of the people we are helping: