Story

TB in Moldova

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After the fall of the Soviet Union, Moldova’s health system struggled to cope and the country became vulnerable to a growing tuberculosis (TB) crisis. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Moldova’s health system struggled to cope and the country became vulnerable to a growing tuberculosis (TB) crisis. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

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Hospitals were shuttered and jobs were lost due to a huge economic shortfall, and very few social programmes were put in place to help manage the myriad of problems that the country’s population was facing. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

Hospitals were shuttered and jobs were lost due to a huge economic shortfall, and very few social programmes were put in place to help manage the myriad of problems that the country’s population was facing. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

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TB, a dangerous lung disease that kills nearly two million people worldwide each year, thrives in impoverished areas, and Moldova currently has one of the highest TB rates in Europe. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

TB, a dangerous lung disease that kills nearly two million people worldwide each year, thrives in impoverished areas, and Moldova currently has one of the highest TB rates in Europe. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

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Nearly half of all TB patients in the country are infected with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a deadly strain of the disease that does not respond to the standard TB medicines and is extremely costly and difficult to treat. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

Nearly half of all TB patients in the country are infected with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a deadly strain of the disease that does not respond to the standard TB medicines and is extremely costly and difficult to treat. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

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MDR-TB can emerge as a result of low quality health systems, poor quality drugs, lack of accessibility to treatment, and when a patient intermittently takes their medicine or fails to complete a programme of treatment. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

MDR-TB can emerge as a result of low quality health systems, poor quality drugs, lack of accessibility to treatment, and when a patient intermittently takes their medicine or fails to complete a programme of treatment. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

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There are only four organisations working on tuberculosis in Moldova, and while the overall TB numbers have dropped or stayed stagnant in recent years, the number of MDR-TB patients has risen. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

There are only four organisations working on tuberculosis in Moldova, and while the overall TB numbers have dropped or stayed stagnant in recent years, the number of MDR-TB patients has risen. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

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According to a small NGO that works in Balti, a town 140 km north of the country’s capital, there are currently over 50 patients in the town that have a form of TB that does not respond to any medication, meaning the patients have no treatment options. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

According to a small NGO that works in Balti, a town 140 km north of the country’s capital, there are currently over 50 patients in the town that have a form of TB that does not respond to any medication, meaning the patients have no treatment options. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

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What was once a treatable disease has produced lethal strains that leave some patients with no options but to try to stay comfortable while they wait for the inevitable. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

What was once a treatable disease has produced lethal strains that leave some patients with no options but to try to stay comfortable while they wait for the inevitable. Image by David Rochkind, Moldova, 2010.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Moldova's health system has struggled to cope and the country became vulnerable to a growing tuberculosis (TB) crisis.