Azerbaijan Interviews: Judith Kloiber

From an interview conducted in April, 1999. Judith Kloiber, Survey Administrator, MSF, Azerbaijan
  • Working with MSF-B in Azerbaijan since March 1999
  • German
  • Working on a survey about STDs in Sumgayt, Imishli and Saatli What was something that you quite surprised about when you first came to Azerbaijan? 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 national authorities. 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 and malaria. 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.