Migration is a critical factor exacerbating the TB burden and contributing to the development of multidrug-resistant forms of this disease. Nearly seven out of ten migrants diagnosed with TB fail to complete the prescribed treatment for cure due to lack of access to health care and support. In Kazakhstan, Project HOPE, supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is turning the tide. Partnering with government institutions, other NGOs and civil society, HOPE is removing barriers to access through outreach screenings, awareness campaigns and migrant-friendly treatment facilities. Last year, this outreach impacted 59,576 migrant workers, including Gulnara, a young mother living in Kazakhstan.
In 2003 I came from Russia to Kazakhstan with my husband. I did not plan to stay for long, but fate often changes everything. I divorced and was forced to live in an unfamiliar city with my young child. I got a job and my life began improving. However, in 2010 my documents were stolen. I could not recover them, because I was afraid of deportation. I lived in fear, without documents, earning money where I could.
When the weakness and cough began, I did not know what to do. Then I met Banu. She worked with migrants and encouraged me to be examined for TB. I found out that I had TB. I was so frightened. Banu immediately took me to the TB dispensary and I was put in hospital for treatment. I was in shock, constantly crying. I felt alone. Marina, a social worker with the program, and Banu calmed and supported me, assuring me I would be cured.
When the weakness and cough began, I did not know what to do.
While I was in the hospital, the team also helped me apply for a reissue of my documents. I am grateful to Banu, Marina and Project HOPE for the opportunity to be treated free of charge. I now have a firm belief that I will stand up on my feet and my life will be improved.
I want to say to all who are treated, don’t give up, be positive and get treatment without missing a single day. And most important – remember that TB is curable!
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