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MSF in Russian Federation, 2012
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A health crisis persists in the north Caucasus region, exacerbated by devastating illnesses such as tuberculosis (TB). Years of war, the destruction of the health system and social stigma associated with TB have contributed to a lack of diagnosis and treatment in the north Caucasus, especially for drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has worked with the Chechen Ministry of Health to implement a comprehensive TB program in the republic, including rapid diagnosis and treatment for people with DR-TB, those not responding to standard first-line drugs for TB. Patients receive counseling and practical support to help them complete their lengthy, isolating and often arduous treatment. The MSF team is developing a special focus on children, as well as on HIV–TB co-infection.
Improving Cardiac Care
One in six people in Chechnya has heart disease but the scale and quality of medical services do not meet the needs for acute coronary syndromes and other cardiovascular emergencies. In Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, MSF is working to improve the cardiac unit in the Republican Emergency Hospital through staff training and the purchase of medical equipment and essential medicines for carrying out specialist treatment. The number of patients receiving emergency care rose to almost 750 in 2012, as the unit increased its capacity.
Attention to Mothers and Children
MSF has provided medical care for women and children through three outpatient clinics in Grozny and rural areas in northern and southern Chechnya since 2007. After a total of 15,700 pediatric consultations and 8,800 gynecological consultations, MSF closed the program at the end of 2012, because of decreasing patient numbers and low levels of disease.
Mental Health Support in Ingushetia Ends
Since 2002, MSF teams have provided psychological support to communities in the remote, mountainous regions of Chechnya and Ingushetia, where violent conflict has had a serious impact on people’s mental health. Counselors have worked with individuals suffering from anxiety, mood-related problems and grief caused by psychological and physical violence, abuse and the deaths of loved ones. The program in Chechnya continues. Services in Ingushetia, however, ended in September. Following extensive discussions with the government of the republic, senior officials in Ingushetia thanked MSF for its efforts but indicated that further assistance through this program was no longer required.
At the end of 2012 MSF had 189 staff in the Russian Federation. MSF started working in the country in 1992.