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MSF in Russian Federation, 2007
Field Staff: 74
Reason for Intervention:
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MSF’s focus is on the post conflict North Caucasus region, treating trauma-related injuries, providing mental health support, healthcare for women and children and tuberculosis (TB) care.
Healthcare in Chechnya has been crippled by more than a decade of war. The majority of doctors have fled and the security situation for hundreds of thousands of civilians and internally displaced persons (IDPs) remains precarious. MSF has responded by providing basic primary healthcare, surgery and mental health services, as well as supporting Chechnya’s TB program. For security reasons, there are few international staff on site. Instead, programs are run by national Chechen staff, supported by the international team based in Moscow.
In the Chechen capital, Grozny, MSF provides primary healthcare to the most vulnerable communities with limited or no access to medical services. Mobile medical teams consisting of a therapist, gynecologist, paediatrician and psychologist served six temporary accommodation centers for Chechen IDPs who returned from Ingushetia to find their homes in ruins. In an attempt to solve the IDP problem, the local authorities attempted to close these centers but with no alternative housing available, they remain and are now called ‘communal hostels’. The MSF mobile team conducted around 38,000 medical consultations in 2007.
In the Chechen capital, Grozny, MSF provides primary healthcare to the most vulnerable communities.
MSF rehabilitated two clinics in Grozny where it runs free pharmacies. MSF doctors also provided women’s health and pediatric medical care in four clinics and reproductive health, family planning consultations and medical equipment to the capital’s maternity hospital. Outside Grozny, MSF supports district hospitals in the mountainous villages of Shatoy, Sharoy and Itum-Kale, and has set up a primary health clinic in remote Shelkovskoy district.
MSF runs a medical center in Nazran, the capital city of neighboring Ingushetia, providing medical and mental health consultations. Some 17,000 IDPs from the conflict in Chechnya and 18,000 from the Ossetian conflict of the early 1990s still live in Ingushetia. They lead difficult lives with little support and largely without access to health services. MSF conducts up to 1,200 consultations a month for IDPs and the few locals who also use MSF’s clinic.
As Chechnya’s TB services were largely destroyed during the war, MSF supports the implementation of a directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) program in four TB hospitals serving around 350,000 people. Since the beginning of the program in 2004, more than 1,500 patients have received treatment. The program enrolled 455 patients in 2007. The success rate of over 80 per cent is made possible by the work of MSF health educators and counselors who help patients adhere to the lengthy treatment. The program plans to double by extending to the main TB hospital in Grozny.
MSF continued to perform violence-related reconstructive surgery in Grozny’s hospital No.9, the main republican trauma hospital. MSF has also been supporting the neurosurgical and trauma wards, which performed around 600 emergency surgeries throughout the year.
MSF has worked in the Russian Federation since 1988 and in North Caucasus since 1995.