21 March 2003
In Gaint, a small village in the highlands of Amhara region of Ethiopia, Tesfaye sits quietly in the waiting bay of the village health centre, his traditional “gabi” wrapped around his face. “I am tired,” he says. “Coming every day in order to take the TB drugs wears me out, because I have to walk two hours to reach the village and another two hours to go back home. But I must do it. I really hope that this treatment will make me better.”
Meanwhile, Tigist is on her way home from the TB room in a health centre on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. She looks happy. “Yes,” she tells excitedly, “I have already finished seven months of TB treatment and today they told me that I am cured. I only have to take the drugs this month and do not have to come back anymore. You know, when I came here for the first time, I was so emaciated and weak when they examined me. Now I feel so much better.”
Ethiopia’s US$ 10.9 million grant from the Global Fund over two years supports a multi-faceted attack on the disease involving several partners: early detection; DOTS provision for all newly-diagnosed patients; national training, information and communication strategies; and a comprehensive continuum of patient care which also incorporates support for people living with HIV/AIDS. DOTS is a strategy for providing effective treatment and follow-up for TB patients. It ensures that every patient is supported to take the necessary medicines to get cured over the six-nine month long treatment period.
In Eastern Europe, an exponential rise in HIV/AIDS infection and a concomitant rise in TB infection are both largely driven by an explosion in intravenous drug use. Moldova and neighboring Ukraine share this problem along with many other countries in the region.
Moldova’s HIV/AIDS and TB grant agreement, worth US$ 5.2 million over the first two years, supports a national program to prevent and control infection among high-risk groups, with components ranging through education, care and treatment, including provision of DOTS and ARV treatments.
Ukraine’s third HIV/AIDS grant agreement with the Global Fund complements two earlier agreements, signed in January. The objectives of these – for US$ 16.9 million and for US$ 1.9 million – are to supply treatment, care and support of people living with HIV/AIDS, including supplying antiretroviral treatments, as well as supporting a broad range of services aimed at high-risk groups, such as injecting drug users, commercial sex workers and prisoners. The latest agreement, for US$ 6.1 million over the first two years, brings additional funds to Ukraine’s HIV/AIDS multi-media information and education program aimed at secondary and technical schools, universities, military and police staff, abandoned and homeless children, people living with HIV/AIDS and the general population.