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MSF in Russian Federation, 2011
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Years of conflict in the north Caucasus region of the Russian Federation have left gaps in many areas of the health system. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) works to fill some of these gaps in Chechnya and Ingushetia.
Resurgence of tuberculosis (TB)
The destruction and displacement resulting from years of conflict – primarily between Russian state authorities and Chechen separatists – have stimulated a resurgence of TB in the north Caucasus, particularly drug-resistant TB.
MSF continued its TB program in Chechnya, improving access to treatment and facilities. There was a shift in focus towards decentralizing treatment and offering patients direct care at home. Patients take their medication under observation, to help make sure they take the right dosage regularly, in order to prevent the development of drug resistance. Between January and December, approximately 500 patients were admitted to the TB program.
Supporting people caught up in violence
In 2011, MSF closed its assistance program in the city of Khasavyurt, Dagestan, where it had provided healthcare and counseling to migrants, and instead focused on programs in Chechnya and Ingushetia, in particular the mountainous areas most affected by violence and the government’s counter-insurgency measures.
The psychological effects of conflict have been far-reaching. The teams held approximately 8,000 individual and 1,700 group counseling sessions in Chechnya, as well as almost 5,100 individual and 1,020 group counseling sessions in Ingushetia.
Healthcare for women and children
In Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, MSF offered outpatient gynecological and pediatric care. Staff also ran mobile clinics offering similar services in Shelkovskoy and Naursky districts, north Chechnya, and Shatoy, south Chechnya. An average of 1,500 women visited clinics each month, 60 percent of whom were diagnosed and treated for sexually transmitted infections. Teams held 1,620 paediatric consultations per month, 62 per cent with children under five years of age.
Cardiac emergency response
Cardiovascular disease is the cause of around two-thirds of deaths in Chechnya. In the first six months of 2011, MSF teams worked on renovating the cardiac emergency program in Grozny’s Republican Emergency Hospital. By mid-2011, the clinical laboratory was functional, and staff were able to start assisting patients. By the end of the year, there had been more than 800 admissions, 72 percent for acute coronary syndrome, which can lead to a heart attack.
In July, MSF carried out thrombolysis, the first cardiac emergency intervention in the organisation’s history. By the end of the year, this procedure, which involves breaking down blood clots, had been successfully performed on 17 patients.
At the end of 2011, MSF had 179 staff in the Russian Federation. MSF has been working in the Russian Federation since 1988, and in the north Caucasus since 1995.