A Case From Donetsk Oblast: New Specimen Pick-up Route Saves a TB Patient’s Life

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Ivan awaits the day he can return home and take a long-awaited great-grandson in his arms.
Nataliia Klymenko, Head of TB Department of Kramatorsk Oblast Clinical TB Dispensary

Ivan, a pensioner from the frontline city of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine, lived a good life. He worked hard, bought a home, and raised two daughters. He now has granddaughters and great granddaughters, too. He says he would like a great grandson, as well.

While the onset of the conflict with Russia in 2014 was a concern, it didn’t impact him directly until February 2017. First, his house came under artillery fire. Shrapnel damaged the roof and the windows, collapsing one wall of the house. Ivan was injured in the attack, but recovered.

Soon after, however, Ivan began to feel ill. He complained of a cough, fatigue, and fever. His health condition worsened, but doctors couldn’t identify what the problem was. They suspected tuberculosis, but couldn’t order a specimen test because he lived very near the frontline and laboratories were not picking up specimens in that area. 

Told about Ivan’s problem and other similar issues, experts from USAID’s Support TB Control Efforts in Ukraine activity joined regional medical experts to develop a system of effective specimen transportation from the frontline areas for timely diagnosis. Such routes would also help continued monitoring of patients being treated with TB/HIV co-infections and guarantee the timely delivery of TB and antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs to patients. The team developed a schedule and, with USAID’s financial support, the Oblast Clinical TB Dispensary in Kramatorsk began transporting specimens and drugs on a weekly basis along the five approved routes. 

Ivan was quickly diagnosed with drug-resistant TB after his specimen was picked up and delivered to Kramatorsk. He then went to the TB Dispensary in Kramatorsk where TB specialists promptly prescribed a treatment regimen. His symptoms soon disappeared and Ivan’s health improved. Currently, Ivan is preparing for video-observed ambulatory treatment.

While recovering in the hospital, Ivan received the most powerful motivating force for him to continue treatment: a long-awaited great-grandson was born. Ivan awaits the day he can meet and take the child in his arms.

Last updated: April 09, 2021

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