Azerbaijan International

Winter 1998 (6.4)
Page 65

Pennzoil Renovates TB Sanatorium

Pennzoil in AzerbaijanIn the summer of 1998, Pennzoil donated funds for a major refurbishment of the Children's Bone Tuberculosis Sanatorium which is named after the famous pediatrician, Yevsey Guindes (1872-1954). The Sanatorium is located in Zagulba in the outskirts of Baku and was originally constructed with private funds in 1906 and expanded in 1912 to treat children afflicted by bone tuberculosis.

Left: Stephen D. Chesbro, President and Chief Operating Officer of Pennzoil, visits with hospital staff on the occasion of the dedication of Pennzoil's renovation of the Children's Bone Tuberculosis Sanatorium.

While tuberculosis of the lungs is the most common form of tuberculosis, bone tuberculosis is not uncommon in certain parts of the world. This disease enters the bones and destroys the skeleton, as well as spreading to other parts of the body. The children's bones become very fragile, and they often have to be confined to bed encased in plaster casts for a number of years. This disease can be treated over a period of several years with antibiotics, supplemented by proper care and nutrition.

According to Dr. Masrura Gamidzadeh, familiarly known as Sima Khanum and head doctor at the Children's Bone Tuberculosis Sanatorium since 1982, the facility has progressively deteriorated over the years. With the independence of Azerbaijan, few funds were available for the upkeep of the facility and adequate care of the children.

Betty Effimoff, wife of Pennzoil's President Igor Effimoff, visited the hospital in the spring of 1997. "I've been a nurse for 30 years," she commented, "but the equipment used here predates my memory." Despite the deteriorated physical conditions, she found that the place was clean and the children appeared to be well cared for by a very dedicated staff.

With the approval of Azerbaijan's Minister of Health, Dr. Ali Insanov, Pennzoil contracted Mercy Corps International, a U.S. based humanitarian organization to oversee the project. Mercy Corps utilized a work force that was comprised mainly of internal refugees, who were afforded not only the opportunity to earn salaries to support their families, but also the chance to train in new professions.

The refurbishment included replacing the worn-out windows with aluminum-framed, double-pane windows that were fabricated on site. An antiquated, nonfunctional heating system was replaced by a fully modern one. The patients now enjoy completely refurbished living and health care quarters, a new kitchen, a supply of safe drinking water, a fully functional electrical system, new shower and toilet facilities with hot and cold running water.

The completion of the refurbishment was celebrated on October 27, 1998. "The refurbishment of the Sanatorium is a gift from Pennzoil to the afflicted children of the Republic of Azerbaijan," Stephen D. Chesbro, President and Chief Operating Officer of Pennzoil from Houston, who attended the ceremony. "We hope this facility will help the children heal more rapidly and that this facility will remain available to all the children of Azerbaijan stricken with this illness until the disease is completely eradicated from Azerbaijan."

Azerbaijan International (6.4) Winter 1998.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.

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