Profile of Lida
9 October 2001
Lida weighs 35 kilograms. She says she feels "destroyed inside." In her room in the department of "chronics" at the tuberculosis hospital in Guliripchi, Abkhazia, she waits for the results of an analysis of her sputum. She hopes for the impossible: the destruction of all the bacteria eating away at her lungs in spite of four successive treatments. The tuberculosis from which Lida suffers is multi-drug resistant, no doubt contracted as a result of two previous treatments that were incomplete. The first treatment, prescribed by the doctor at the iron and steel plant where Lida worked, included only two of the anti-tuberculosis drugs recommended by the World Health Organization protocol. As for the second, following crisis and war in her country, she didn't have enough money to pay for the medication. The two treatments that followed in the hospital were appropriate but arrived too late. A chronic patient, she would now need second-line medication, but that's not available in Guliripchi. The complete treatment costs $15,000 and cures only up to 60-70% of the patients. There are terrible side effects, and hospitalization and treatment last up to 24 months. During the year and a half that Lida has been in the hospital, she has put on a little bit of weight. She moves slowly from her bed to the window to breathe.