Bringing TB Awareness and Care to Migrant Workers in Kazakhstan
Migrants are twice as likely to fall prey to Tuberculosis. Intervention brings awareness, screening and support.
Project HOPE Engages Civil Society in Outreach Activities
Kazakhstan is among the top ten countries in the world in the number of migrants that it receives. Some of the visitors are seasonal laborers from the neighboring Central Asian countries hired for work at construction sites, markets or farms. They toil long hours outdoors in the cold, rain or blazing heat, and live in shared quarters that are cramped, damp and overcrowded. Without speaking the local language and not having a documented status, they live in constant fear.
Yet there is another peril that migrants in Kazakhstan and throughout the world have to face: Tuberculosis (TB). Migrants are twice as likely to fall prey to this silent killer due to social and economic inequalities and marginalization manifested in poor living and working conditions, malnutrition, lack of information about TB, and lack of access to healthcare and support. Coupled with pervasive stigmatization associated with their migrant status and with TB, migrants are more likely than other social groups to become infected with and die from this disease.
Project HOPE as the principal recipient of a grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) with the assistance from local civil society organizations has successfully implemented a month-long outreach campaign culminating on March 24, 2016 — World TB Day. The objective of this intervention was to bring TB awareness, screening and support in a series of coordinated campaigns to the areas where migrant workers are likely to frequent like border cross points, migration police offices, and markets. With the encouragement of outreach volunteers stressing the importance of regular screening and availability of free TB diagnosis, care and support provided by Project HOPE under the GFATM program, migrants voluntarily underwent screenings at mobile TB screening X-ray vans stationed in convenient migrant locations. As a result of this wide-scale intervention implemented in seven pilot areas throughout Kazakhstan’s 7,600-km span, 2,100 migrants received free TB screening and information. Among those screened, 215 were referred for additional TB testing and provided follow-up support to ensure that they enrolled and stayed in treatment.