Azerbaijan Interviews: Judith Kloiber
8 June 1999
From an interview conducted in April, 1999. Judith Kloiber, Survey Administrator, MSF, Azerbaijan
Working with MSF-B in Azerbaijan since March 1999
Working on a survey about STDs in Sumgayt, Imishli and Saatli
What was something that you quite surprised about when you first came
The first time I came to Azerbaijan was in December last year for a
few weeks. I was shocked by the pollution you see in Baku and around
Baku - the oil riggs and pipes everywhere.
Why it is important to do an STD survey in Sumgayt, Imishli and Saatli?
MSF has been working in the field of reproductive health and family
planing in Azerbaijan already for many years. What we have found is
quite a high infant mortality rate, high numbers of abortions as well
as poor knowledge about contraceptive methods.
The prevalence of STDs in this country has seemed to increase during the last few years, like in other former
Soviet countries. So in the MSF Imishli program of activities, a pilot
project for the treatment of STDs was started. This means that the
gynecologists and dermato-venerologist of the Imishli Central Hospital
were convinced to treat their patients according
to the WHO syndromic approach, of course in agreement with the
But to guarantee good treatment, the WHO
approach has to be adapted to the particular situation in Azerbaijan.
And therefore we are going to start our survey, to get reliable
figures about the sexual behaviour of the population, the current ways
of STD treatment and the resistance towards antibiotics, etcetera.
What was a surprise for you when you started your work with MSF?
When I visited the MSF projects in Sumgayt, and went to the industrial
part of the city, I saw how the people are living there, the air
quality was really bad.
Also, some weeks ago I went to the field, to a
hospital - it was really poor, it had nothing, you couldn't see any
patients, the doctors didn't have any equipment.
I can understand why
people don't have any trust in the public health system right now,
they don't like to use it, but sometimes they have to.
What was a pleasant surprise?
I was pleasantly surprised in Sumgayt when I went to the MSF
dispensaries, and saw some nurses from MSF giving the general health
education training to local people waiting for their appointments. I
was really surprised at the positive response from the patients.
People were really interested in the topics such as contraception use
For have you personally enjoyed so far about your time in Azerbaijan?
What I really like is that the people are so hospitable and friendly.
We have spent much time together with local people, very nice evenings
- having dinners, talking about our countries. That's what I like.