Foundation opens doors for tuberculosis patients who have nowhere else to go
Mesude Erşan – ISTANBUL
A total of 17 tuberculosis patients who have nowhere to go are being hosted by the Istanbul Tuberculosis Foundation in hotels in Istanbul during their long treatment process, the foundation head said.
Istanbul Tuberculosis Foundation head Fuat Demir said they considered this project as “encouragement for treatment.”
“We have 15 guests in Istanbul and two patients outside the city. We will continue to help them as long as their treatment continues. When our doctors finish their treatment, we are off duty,” Demir said.
One of the tuberculosis patients, Ahmet Necati Yalım, 63, said he would not have survived if he had not had this chance.
“I had no place to go when I left the hospital. My daughter could not look after me. I do not know what I would have done without this support. I could not sustain my treatment,” Yalım said.
Yalım also said he and his wife had divorced many years ago, adding that he was living with his daughter.
When he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, he was obligated to end his own business. So, the foundation placed him in Bizim Hotel in Istanbul’s Tarlabaşı area after his treatment in the hospital was complete.
The foundation also covers daily food allowance for the patients.
“Sometimes I leave the hotel. We are very happy with the hotel, the food and the whole thing. The meals taste home-made; pretty good. I want to move in to a nursing home when I am discharged. I have no other place to go,” he added.
An anonymous patient, who had three children, said he had been diagnosed with tuberculosis for a second time.
“Before I became sick, I was working for daily wages and was sharing a single room with a friend in Tarlabaşı. When I became sick for the second time, I was hospitalized for five months. When the time came for me to be discharged, I did not have work or a place to stay. I had to stay on medication. The association has placed us here. It is like home. Our room is cleaned and ventilated. I receive my medication daily from a dispensary in Taksim,” he said.
Zeki Kılıçarslan, a doctor on duty at the foundation, said they aim to reach sick refugees in Istanbul as part of the second stage of the project.
“The Health Ministry and the Family and Social Policy Ministry have agreed to cooperate on the treatment of tuberculosis patients who have definite diagnoses. They will be given 1,080 Turkish Liras in aid. It is a very good decision,” said Kılıçarslan.
“Once this practice is passed, we will shift our resources and support to other areas, such as refugees,” he said.