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MSF in Kyrgyzstan, 2006/2007
Field Staff: 30
Reason for Intervention:
All articles on Kyrgyzstan »
Tuberculosis is a burden for the crippled healthcare system of Kyrgyzstan, a small landlocked republic in Central Asia. The country has one of the world’s largest prison population rates and MSF has found the prevalence of tuberculosis in the country’s rickety penal system to be 25 times higher than in the civilian sector. The rapidly growing number of people with drugresistant tuberculosis (TB), which is very difficult and expensive to treat, is cause for alarm.
The penitentiary system cannot provide quick, reliable diagnosis or proper separation of infectious patients with TB. Overcrowded cells, lack of light and fresh air, and poor rations have created a breeding ground for TB. In cooperation with local authorities, MSF is working in one colony for TB-infected prisoners and in two pre-trial detention centers (one for males, one for females) near the capital Bishkek, where the organization has rehabilitated laboratories, medical rooms, and the cells of infectious TB patients undergoing intensive treatment. By June 2007, over 800 patients had been enrolled in the MSF’s DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course) program. This programincludes an important health information and education component. MSF also gives patients high-energy milk for better recovery, and a livestock project supplies eggs and meat.
MSF is focusing on the early detection of TB in all 35 penal institutions of the country: the earlier patients can be referred for TB treatment, the better are the outcomes, with less opportunity to spread infection. As there are no sufficient follow-up services for TB-infected ex-prisoners, MSF, together with other NGOs, works also to ensure that released patients can continue their treatment in the civilian health system.
MSF has started to diagnose the multi drugresistant (MDR) and polydrug-resistant (PDR)TB patients. Treatment for PDR-TB and MDR-TB will begin before the end of 2007.
MSF has worked in Kyrgyzstan since 2005.