In rural Gong Dong, China, New York
doctor Ed Chai is training local health workers in western
medical techniques that will complement their background in
traditional Chinese medicine...
Name: Edward N. Chai
Episode: "A Long Way From Home"
CHINA | SUDAN | PERU
In this episode, Dr. Ed Chai is providing medical care and training
in China. Is healthcare in China free? If so, is there a need for
Health care in China is not free. The socialist market
economy that has taken root in China has had strong repercussions
on health in rural communities. The cost of medical care has skyrocketed,
insurance coverage has plummeted, and many skilled medical workers
have fled rural areas for more lucrative work in the cities. Few
rural families can afford even basic medical care. MSF focuses its
attention on largely rural areas in western China, fighting infectious
diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis, offering medical attention
to those families that cannot afford it, training local health workers,
and providing cleaner drinking water in a number of areas.
In this episode, nurse Marg Ward is treating
a patient named Mary for TB in Sudan. The treatment will last eight
months. Is this typical?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious infectious disease
caused principally by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Transmission
occurs when airborne droplets of TB germs, which are known as bacilli,
are propelled into the air by a patient with pulmonary TB (TB of
Effective treatment for TB involves lengthy multiple-drug
regimens. Proper treatment is expensive and difficult to obtain
in developing countries, where it is needed most, and because TB
primarily affects the poor, there is scarcely any research and development
being done into new TB drugs.
The most effective strategy currently available for
treating TB is DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course).
The DOTS approach includes direct supervision by a health care worker
of the patient's daily intake of multiple drugs for six to eight
months. This is to ensure the patient's adherence to treatment and
reduces the risk of developing multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).