Dr. Wissam of Eastern Ghouta is trying to speak with me about tuberculosis over the Internet. It's the fourth time we have tried, with the poor connection.
The disease has reappeared in eastern Ghouta and Wissam is calling for action against this serious and fatal disease. The doctor warns of a "real disaster," added to other disasters, if the international community continues ignoring the consequences of the spread of the disease in this region, already condemned to death by all methods and without mercy.
In Hammouria, one of the cities of eastern Ghouta, a miserable scene summarizes the story and makes the physician specialist in tumors raise the medical alarm against the disease. She says that during her tour in the cities of eastern Ghouta, she met a girl complaining of a magnitude in a lymph gland in the neck. The histopathology showed that the patient was infected with tuberculosis. The doctor learned that the sister of the patient who accompanied her was infected previously with nodal tuberculosis three years ago and she has received the full treatment (a quad dose of antibiotics for six to nine months with the adoption of a special diet). The treatment produced very good results, but after the start of the siege and the prevalence of malnutrition, she noticed by virtue of her previous battle with the same disease, the emergence of nodes in her sister's neck, which encouraged her to take the patient (her sister) to the health center. It turned out that she was also infected with TB, as expected.
Three months later, the symptoms of the disease were shown by her their third brother. He complained about the large size of his abdomen and examination showed that he had ascites. Studying the condition of the patient revealed it was caused by tuberculosis.
Shortly afterwards, their fourth sister suffered from a kind of cough producing a yellow hemoptysis and a magnitude in the cervical nodes. The x-ray of the chest increased fears of a miliary" tuberculosis, a very advanced stage in the disease.
If the diagnosis was ratified, as the doctor says, it requires an urgent isolation for the patient with special medical treatments, medicines and medical programs. But these are not fully available currently, despite the seriousness of the situation and the possibility of the spread of the infection on a large scale.
A whole family has been infected by tuberculosis within just a few months. The doctor says that they were probably infected three years ago but the strength of their immunity resisted the spread of the disease. This kept the bacterium inside their bodies inactive, but the current circumstances weakened their immune systems and led to the revitalization of the bacterium which spread to the other members in the family through exhalation and sneezing.
The doctor raises the alarm when she refers to the lack of medication for this disease today because of the siege around eastern Ghouta and the inability to take the injured to Damascus for treatment as well. Despite the attempts made by some members of the medical team to notify the Ministry of Health in Damascus about the seriousness of the situation, the Ministry has not reached a formula for how to deal with this potential epidemic which will not stop at regime's military checkpoints.
The doctor says that 26 cases, including children, have arrived at her treatment center in Douma recently. She stresses that this number does not include the other medical points and clinics that receive these cases.
The Ministry of Health puts conditions to allow treatment, it asks to put the TB clinic in the city of Douma under the control of an employee from the ministry, in addition to the doctor in charge now.