Elena Valerevna Korolyova
Since 2003 I have been working as a nurse for the Belgorod regional branch of the Russian Red Cross in the “comprehensive model of TB [tuberculosis] control” programme. I provide controlled treatment and social support for TB patients from vulnerable populations.
Working with patients in the programme starts with consultations on TB prophylaxis, ensuring the administration of daily controlled treatment, and explaining the need to go for medical examinations – not only for the patients themselves but also for the people surrounding them.
When I start to get to know patients, I try to understand their psychological environment, both at home and at work. I try to win their favour, so that they can trust me. I help resolve conflicts between family members and neighbours if they become aware of the infection.
My job is to follow up on every patient every day, so that they take their daily doses of prescribed anti-TB drugs without interruption. Usually patients come to my office on their own, but, if they don’t, I visit them at home, find out their reasons for not coming, and administer the medication at home. In addition to prescribed drugs, I also give patients support in the form of groceries, as an incentive for them to not interrupt their treatment. If patients under my care are not able to come on their own, I visit them at home every day, watch them take their drugs, and bring them food packages.
For many of those who are placed in the programme, the social and psychological support provided by the Red Cross is often the only help they receive. I want the patients under my care to feel like they are always cared for. Therefore I even remember their birthdays and try to find gifts for their children for New Year’s.
Furthermore, together with my colleagues, I participate in activities to mobilize additional resources for the needs of TB patients. For example, I take part in round-table meetings, visit businesses and business owners, and tell people about TB and how they can help patients get better.
I think it’s necessary and effective to engage in educational efforts within the community to raise public awareness and draw the attention of the public to the problem of TB. So I take part in conducting sociological surveys among the residents of Belgorod. These surveys are carried out by our organization to understand the public’s knowledge about TB and its prevention. I also hold and organize discussions about TB-related issues in schools and workplaces.I like my work, and I am proud of being able to help cure people with TB.