The volunteers of Speranta Terrei, who have devoted themselves to the fight against TB, started a new project. Thanks to contacts with a Romanian organization, Stichting Romanian Children’s Humanitarian Foundation, they had the possibility to implement in Balti the project called PlayDecide. The essence of the project is to use a form of interactive play to learn to take decisions.
Probably someone may find it strange that responsible adults concerned with serious medical questions decided to “play.” However, this particular interactive play gives the possibility to accurately assess the TB situation in Balti as well as in Iasi and develop strategy and tactics for the fight against TB.
The two cities are separated only by 80 kilometers, but are united by common problems, including large numbers of TB patients, insufficient information among the population on this terrifying disease, and lack of understanding by many patients to complete treatment without interruption.
That was the topic of the meeting of Balti volunteers with Romanian guests. Moderators of Speranta Terrei, doctors of the TB dispensary, and representatives of local authority and the church took part in the PlayDecide discussion.
All participants agreed that the TB problem is not a problem only of a TB patient, but it touches everyone and it needs to be solved with everyone’s effort. There are no boundaries for the disease, neither geographical nor social. TB can affect anyone, even privileged members of society, and then they would need help.
Under the guidance of Romanian community organization’s president, Brian Douglas, the participants learned by using specially prepared cards with concrete aspects of the problem to find answers to given questions and then discussed the results.
As with previous projects, this project made a way in Balti thanks to the efforts of Speranta Terrei’s vice-president, Asma Henry. In spite of the fact she lives in Atlanta, she directs all her time and knowledge to help TB patients from Balti. Within this project, it is planned to conduct another few meetings with the participation of representatives of medicine and the local community.
President, community organization Speranta Terrei
After the PlayDecide discussion, the participants developed the following policies:
1) Though it was agreed that there is a need for a TB Hospice for terminally ill patients so that they can receive palliative care there are at present many questions to be answered and resolved on this subject. Who would fund such a project? Who would continue the funding to cover all of the TB Hospice overall costs once such a Hospice was opened? Could State funding be obtained and what about the private sector involvement in funding? Who would train specialist staff in palliative care and who would cover these costs? Considering that many patients would be highly infectious MRDTB patients one would have to look at how cross infection could be averted considering that in a Hospice relatives stay often long periods at the side of the patient and are in very close contact, plus what about cross infection prevention in the case of all the Hospice staff? If in the next 20 years a new drug therapy was discovered that meant TB in all of its forms was fully curable what would happen to the TB Hospice? The group agreed that we need far more research on this subject and the forming of a management team to fully evaluate and assess the TB Hospice subject and this will be an ongoing result of this Playdecide activity.
2) The Playdecide Participants from Romania and Moldova fully agreed that there needs to be information for the public who cross the borders between Romania and Moldova at all border crossing points between the 2 Countries. It was further agreed that this information must be produced in both Romanian and Russian languages so that nationals of both Countries could easily understand and digest the information about Tuberculosis. A third language for international travelers like English could also be produced. Official applications both in Moldova and Romania would be made to the appropriate Governmental agencies for border control to gain permission for TB information to be displayed at all Romanian-Moldovan border crossings in an effort to raise public awareness to the TB subject amongst the traveling public. Considering the high incidences of TB cases in both Countries and large amount of cross border traffic between the two Countries this was considered a priority and again will be a follow up project directly from the Playdecide Cross Border TB event.
3) It was agreed that there is a lack of information about Tuberculosis within the public domain in both Romania and Moldova. To combat this and bring raised awareness regarding TB it was agreed that the subject needs teaching to children in schools, that the press and news media have a large part to play in promoting TB prevention information amongst the public and that as a follow up to this Playdecide event we will produce TB prevention material for to help raise public awareness at all levels of society in both Countries. The press and news media will be approached to provide free spots and advertising about TB also in consideration of the high levels of TB infections in both Countries.
4) The subject of TB moderators mainly cured former TB patients who deliver and administer TB drugs to patients on home therapy after hospital treatment was spoken about. The subject of funding such voluntary moderator services to allow for travel costs and out of pocket expenses was addressed and as a follow up more funding from the private sector must be sought to allow the continuance of TB moderators in Moldova. Another subject brought up was the legal position of such moderators and their personal safety considering they carry TB drugs to patients. Is any form of insurance available to these moderators to cover personal safety or if they give TB drugs to a patient who then has an adverse reaction or dies? Who is liable also in such a case? Until these questions are answered the Romanian delegation has no plans to apply moderators along the lines of the Moldova Balti TB moderators.