Hayastan All Armenian Fund Supports TB Hospital in Gyumri
Meline Tufenkjian’s “Meds and Meals” Program for TB patients will continueFor three months in 2008 – October to December - the Hayastan Fund East Coast Affiliate had been supporting the Gyumri TB hospital. The project was made possible through a $15 000 contributions by Ms.Tufenkjian of New York: the funds were to help cover the cost of medications and nutritious meals for those infected with the deadly disease.
Starting from 2007 the Gyumri TB hospital serves both children and adults. Karine Tonoyan who has been heading the hospital since 1998 gave a detailed story of how the assistance of the Fund was being used for the total duration of the project: Some 35 to 45 patients, aged between 25 to 55 years receive treatment in the hospital on a daily basis. Patients normally stay in the hospital for 50-60 days, after which they continue taking medication while at home and under control of the clinic. If, for some reason or other the TB infection is back to the patient, the latter is returned to the hospital and undergoes another round of treatment.
The funds, as the donor had wished, had been exclusively used to provide additional and nutritious food for the patients. After being delivered to the hospital, the food items would be stocked in the warehouse carefully. After this a proper menu would be developed for the patients making sure that there are enough calories – fruit, vegetables and juice - in the daily portions of the meal. The food was then placed on special trays and taken to the wards three times a day. This was an important measure to help prevent infection from spreading around.
“People ill with TB bacteria in their lungs can infect others when they cough, sneeze or talk”, explained Ms. Tonoyan, “so it is strictly required that the medical staff wears masks when they are around patients, whether while providing medical care or serve food.
A total of 71 patients in the hospital had benefited from the project. The need for good nutrition is an on-going process for an establishment such as this, and after the project had ended, the management had been hoping that there will be a continuing support for the TB victims. Shortly afterwards Ms. Tufenkjian expressed wish to continue her support for the TB patients in the Gyumri hospital in 2009.
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