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MSF in Georgia, 2012
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People in Georgia who contract kala azar, or visceral leishmaniasis, now have greater access to quality care and shorter, more tolerable treatment. Kala azar is a parasitic disease that is almost always fatal without treatment. It is transmitted through bites from infected sandflies. Symptoms include fever, weight
In 2011, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) began working with Tbilisi’s Parasitological Hospital to improve detection of kala azar with rapid diagnostic tests, and to introduce a better drug, liposomal amphotericin B, to treat it. This treatment regimen is far easier for patients: they receive the drug for four days and need only remain in hospital for a maximum of 10 days rather than the month that was required with the previous medication. After completing staff training, the MSF team handed over the kala azar program to the national authorities in 2012, with a final donation of liposomal amphotericin B.
Tuberculosis Program Handover
Since 2010 MSF has run a TB program focusing on the treatment of patients with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) in the autonomous republic of Abkhazia. MDR-TB is a strain of the disease that does not respond to standard TB drugs. Treatment takes up to two years and often causes painful side effects. MSF continues to treat patients while it assists with the development of the Abkhazian National TB Program, which will manage all activities in future.
Access to Care in Sukhumi
In 1993, during the civil conflict in Abkhazia, MSF began a program delivering medical services to a community in Sukhumi who were without access to healthcare. During 2012, MSF continued to provide medical care, including surgery and eye care, to 64 patients.
At the end of 2012 MSF had 44 staff in Georgia. MSF has been working in the country since 1993.