BE Stories

Abdullah is back to his TB medical treatment

It is in the Ambouli neighbourhood’s Community Health Centre in Djibouti where our peer educators Lydia, Fouad and Mohamed enquired about the list of TB patients who dropped out of their six-month medical treatment. They know it is vital for Djibouti’s population to get these patients back to proper medication to avoid the spread of TB. Abdullah was on the “lost TB patients” list and they decided to go to see him because he withdrew from his medication a few weeks previously.

They found a trembling young man with no strength left and who was coughing a lot. Abdullah lives in a small airless house without windows, which he shares with his parents and five other family members. He wouldn’t listen to his parents, who begged him to take up his treatment again. He ignored their cries, too weak to act in response. Lydia, though, knew what to do. Even though it took her some time and all her persuasion powers, she made him believe that not only he was a real danger to himself, but also that his illness was a threat to his whole family. He eventually followed Fouad to take a taxi to the hospital so that he could be re-examined and take up his medical treatment. Today, Abdullah still has a few months’ treatment to go but is on his way to being cured.

Khun Nat is cured

Khun Nat from Bangkok’s biggest slum Khlong Toei is one amongst many others BE Health’s peer educators took care of. This young man worked in the harbour next to the slum and was infected by tuberculosis through his father and brother with whom he lived in the same shanty. When one of BE Health’s peer educators visited him during the very beginning of his medical treatment, he found a weak and sad man. His father and brother just died from tuberculosis and he wished to follow them. BE Health’s peer educator Nattapol visited him every week. He made sure Khun Nat took his medication and coached him until he was cured. Together with his youngest brother, Khun Nat started a few months ago his own business in T-shirt customization and feels happy to be alive.

Tuberculosis and Tobacco: dangerous combination

BE Health in Bangkok launched its first « Quit Smoking » campaign at the workplace during the first week of October 2015.

Tuberculosis and active tobacco smoking are strongly associated, also in Thailand. According to the WHO, 20% of all new tuberculosis cases may be due to smoking tobacco. Smoking increases the risk of tuberculosis. Therefore, BE Health decided to conduct a “Quit Smoking campaign”, starting at the workplace of Siam Kempinski Hotel. The campaign includes a health check-up and counseling during three months for employees who decide to stop smoking. First, informational meetings about the risks of smoking and a survey amongst all employees were organised. As a result, 12 employees decided to give up their smoking. During the coming months, these employees will receive special counselling and mental support from BE Health’s peer educators trained especially for this responsibility. They will also regularly undergo a spirometry test as well as a urine test for cotinine. Employees that have successfully stopped smoking after six months will receive an incentive from their employer.

Visit of UNAIDS’ Executive Director, Mr Michel Sidibé

On 11 October, BE Health’s peer educators in Djibouti had the chance to introduce themselves and their activities to ​Mr Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS’ Executive Director, as well as to ​Dr​ ​Yamina ​Cha​kkar​ UNAIDS’ regional director and Dr Dado Sy, UNAIDS’ representative in Djibouti. Mr Sidibé inspired BE Health’s entire team by sharing his long experience in how to best convey messages to prevent HIV from spreading in their communities. There is still a long way to go to stop the transmission of HIV in Djibouti. ​Mr Sidibé’s encouragement was therefore highly appreciated.

“BE Health is the kind of  public-private partnership that can inspire change and transform the lives of people affected by HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases. We can all play a part in creating a healthier world.”

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Ampha Chaisawas, an Executive Housekeeper in Klong Toey

“Excellent performance comes from the heart” says Ampha Chaisawas, the experienced Executive Housekeeper at Siam Kempinski Hotel. “My small hands can contribute to improving the health of our local communities. I’m not a doctor or a nurse, but I can help underprivileged people to get the correct medical treatment until they are cured. I can give them my free time and am proud to share my knowledge on TB and HIV with their families, neighbours and close-ones, because they need to protect themselves carefully from TB and HIV. I regularly visit Klong Toey to call on patients I’ve been looking after to check on their basic health conditions and schedule for their medical treatments. In case of a suspected TB case, I encourage family members to go to the Healthcare Centre for TB and/or HIV screening. When I visit patients in Klong Toey, I often burst into tears, as they make me aware that we are much needed. Patients smile and eat more when they see that there are still people who care for them.”

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