Georgia: Chronic crisis is the backdrop to aid

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The latent conflicts with the self-proclaimed republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whose independence Georgia refuses to recognize, the arrival of Chechen refugees in the Pankisi Valley, a blockade on the Abkhazia-Russia border, and the consequences of the recent fighting have all produced instability and hampered development. Combating tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is a large health threat. The Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) strategy was introduced at Sukhumi Hospital, and at several outpatient sites. During the year 2000, 216 patients were treated. MSF is working to reduce the transmission of TB by detecting at least 70% of cases. Systematic testing and treatment will be introduced at the Sukhumi prison, and MSF also expects to set up a treatment program for people with multi-drug resistant TB. Medical care for the most vulnerable MSF regularly supplies 38 hospitals, polyclinics, and health centers with medicines and medical equipment. A health center in Sukhumi continues to offer free health care to around 3,000 of the country's most destitute people. At the same time, a network of 12 social workers interviews people throughout Abkhazia to identify the most vulnerable population groups and refer people to health facilities, where they receive free, quality care. Aid for Chechen refugees In March 2001, MSF's emergency assistance program in the Pankisi Valley for refugees from Chechnya closed. A total of 15,288 children had been vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, or measles. Occupational therapy was given to 125 children who were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the war. MSF teams also referred more than 300 refugees to Georgian hospitals for specialized care. MSF continues to provide medical care for 76 war-wounded at Tbilisi Hospital. MSF has been present in Georgia since 1993. International staff: 18 National staff: 74