Tuberculosis treatment is enhanced: micro-loaning practices boost the income of patients
Saidsharif Pirov, a father to seven children – three sons with disabilities and two elder sons infected with tuberculosis (TB), resides in Chorbog village of Vose district. For years, the main source of family income was three hectares of land, where mainly food crops were grown to barely sustain the family. Although there was a working potential in the family, opportunities remained limited due to a lack of financial means. Hope for a better life has glimpsed once UNDP introduced an initiative that supports families with TB patients by providing favorable loans for honey beekeeping and small business through Micro Loan Organization (MLO) “Rushdi Vose”.
Two UNDP programmes – Communities Programme and GFATM*, after revisiting their approaches in delivering support to beneficiaries have found assisting TB patients as an entry point for the integration of both programmes and thus, ensuring the lives of beneficiaries are improved in a sustainable way through consolidated efforts. One of the joint initiatives implemented is the Better Livelihoods for TB patients project. Along with the healthcare support rendered to TB patients and their families, the project also offers economic opportunities to improve their livelihoods. As a result, to date, some 201 TB patients, including 60 women, have received favourable loans at 1.5% monthly interest rate, which were made possible by the financial contribution from GFATM ($46,000) and MLO “Rushdi Vose” ($19,000). By introducing an economic element into the activities to control TB through providing access to financial resources, UNDP has created employment and self-employment opportunities, which in turn result in income raise and a better nutrition of TB patients - a vital component in the treatment of tuberculosis. Not least, the outcomes of such initiatives extend beyond social and economic contexts. For example, beekeeping enables better pollination of plants and crops, which in turn increases productivity and keeps the environment sustainable. These benefits, deriving from the micro-loans provided, have been confirmed through monitoring visits and meetings with the beneficiaries in Jamoat Mirzoali Vaisov (Pakhtaobod) of Vose district, where Saidsharif Pirov lives with his family.
Saidsharif Pirov, a loan recipient for honey beekeeping, was able to start off and increase the number of his bee families to 21 that cumulatively produce over 500 kilos of high quality honey in a season. Of 15,000 Somoni income per season, he spends one third to feed and take care of bees. The rest of income, both in kind and cash, are spent for his family needs, mainly for better nutrition of those family members infected with TB.
Thanks to the income raise, both of his TB-infected sons successfully completed their treatment. Moreover, soon after recovery, the former TB patients of Saidsharif’s family were able to launch a business – a shop in Dushanbe. This, another success became possible through different credit scheme of MLO “Rushdi Vose”, namely “Trade”.
The gloomy perspective of family’s future soared some time ago is now superseded by ambitious business and welfare plans. Inspired by his family success, Saidsharif decently states: “we do have working potential, we only need a tiny support to implement our initiatives”.
* Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria