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Women make 61pc of TB patients in the south

Women make 61pc of TB patients in the south

Mar 25, 2019 - 18:12

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Gul Paida, a 45 years old woman, who is a drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) patient and is currently under treatment at Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF) hospital in southern Kandahar province, narrates her story.

Gul Paida, who suffered for years of the illness, in an interview told Pajhwok Afghan News that she was receiving treatment in the MSF hospital since one and a half months and her condition was improving with each passing day.

The woman is a resident of a remote area in neighboring Zabul province, where healthinfo-icon services are inaccessible.

About her illness, she said she got cough few years back but she did not care much about it and thought it was a normal cough and would go away without medicine. “But the cough gradually turned serious and reached the level to stop me from doing anything,” she said.

“I was experiencing nausea and continued fever. I had no desire for food and felt feeble and would remain asleep all the day and then reached the condition that I could no longer stand,” she said.

Paida said her life turned difficult as she could not take care of her children and home.

“My husband took me to a hospital in Ghazni province, I was hospitalized for three months and took medicines for 18 months but it did not help,” she added.

She said she was then hospitalized in a hospital in Sahjoi district of Zabul for a month but her health did not improve and her husband obliged her to go to Kandahar for her treatment.

She said they visited a special center of TB treatment in Kandahar and her illness was finally diagnosed as a drug-resistant TB disease which could not be treated with normal medicines.

Paida said she was under treatment in the center for one and a half months and was now very happy that her health was getting better with each passing day.

“In this center, treatment and food is free and they also pay for attendants’ stay and travel costs,” she said.

Gul Paida is not alone suffering from TB but womeninfo-icon like her make 61 percent of such patients in the southern region of Afghanistaninfo-icon.

Dr. Wali, an MSF official, told Pajhwok Afghan News that unfortunately women were more vulnerable to the disease in the southern region due to what he called lack of awareness, poverty, poor diet, multiple people living in a single room and some other reasons.

He said TB was a communicable disease and could be transferred easily from one to another person. He said even children at age two contracted the disease due to the above mentioned reasons and their hospital treated them.

Wali said MSF treated 103 people suffering from drug-resistant TB in the south since the organization’s branch was activated in 2016.

He said the MSF TB treatment center dealt with the TB disease that could not be treated with drugs or the disease turned complicated and difficult to be treated.

The MSF not only hospitalized such patients for long treatment, but provided them with food and stay places, paid their travel costs and examined other family members of the patient as well, he added.

“Unfortunately TB cases are increasing in the south with each passing day because most of people living in remote areas where they lack access to health services,” Wali said.

He added work on construction of a 25-bed hospital for TB treatment with advanced services was underway in the south and would complete until the end of current solar yearinfo-icon.

Tomas Suchon, in charge of the project, told Pajhwok that construction of the new hospital would cost 1.2 million Euro and would be donated by MSF. With the opening of this hospital, patients with drug-resistant TB would be able to treat their disease there free of cost in the south, he said.

MSF provides health services in Kandahar, Helmand, Kabulinfo-icon, Herat, Kunduz and Khost provinces. The organization focuses more on TB treatment in Kandahar.

According to Worldinfo-icon Health Organization, 67,000 people in Afghanistan contracted TB each year while 10,000 of them lose their lives to the disease.

mds/ma

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