Why are we there?
- Endemic/epidemic disease
This is an excerpt from MSF's 2013 International Activity Report:
A pilot project to shorten treatment time for people with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) was launched in 2013.
Uzbekistan is one of many countries in Central Asia with high levels of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), a form of the disease that does not respond to the standard first-line drug regimen. Access to proper diagnosis and care is still limited and the vast majority of people with DR-TB remain undiagnosed and untreated.
In the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, MSF has been running a TB program in collaboration with the Ministry of Health since 1997. In 2013, 1,212 patients were enrolled for first-line TB treatment, as well as 677 for DR-TB. Many patients underwent treatment on an outpatient basis, so they avoided the additional stress of hospitalization and could remain at home close to their families and social support network. Overall, nearly two-thirds of the DR-TB patients began ambulatory care. In September 2013, 16 MDR-TB patients were enrolled in a pilot project in which the often arduous treatment that usually takes up to two years was shortened to nine months.
The DR-TB project expanded this year into the districts of Chimbay, Shumanay, and Kanlikul, while activities in the districts of Khodjeily, Takhiatash, and Nukus region were handed over to local health authorities.
In Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital city, an MSF team continued to work at the Republican AIDS Centre, and activities began at the Tashkent City AIDS Centre in September. Psychosocial activities such as counseling were also provided as an additional support for people living with HIV.
At the end of 2013, MSF had 184 staff in Uzbekistan. MSF first worked in the country in 1997.
Rakhatay, MDR-TB patient
“I had been treated for TB in our local hospital for over a year. There was no effect. Then I was lying at home. I guess God had pity on me, for you [MSF doctor] came to my house and told me that treatment is available. At that time I couldn’t even talk to you, I could only listen.
“It’s my daughter Kunduz, it’s thanks to her I started my treatment anew. She convinced me; she told me that I should go for this treatment.
"Now I am taking drugs. Before, I could not eat: I could only drink black tea from a spoon. I couldn’t even raise my head. Thanks to God, now I can sit and even move around.
“I never miss even one day of drugs. There are nurses – Amangul, Umyt, Muhabbat – they bring me medicines. They are all such nice people; they coax me like a child, and make up different tricks so I don’t even notice how I have swallowed the medicine.
"I am so thankful to them; I have reached such a good state of health now.”