Kazakhstan 1997-1998

Radiation and pollution pose health risks The Kazakh people are at rish from high levels of radiation resulting from nuclear weapons production and testing, and heavy industrial and agricultural pollution. MSF activities in Kazakhstan focus on TB detection, treatment and prevention in order to reduce mortality and morbidity rates. MSF implements the DOTS method to ensure patients comply with treatment, thus reducing the high risk of drug resistance, and aim for a cure rate of 85%. In Aksy, the MSF-equipped laboratory is fully operative. Extensive renovation and maintenance work (electricity, heating, water supplies and sewage work) was carried out in the hospital, which has been severely affected by health service administration changes. A new TB laboratory was provided for the dispensary in near-by Illy. MSF supplies medical equipment and TB drugs to both places. Laboratory technicians are trained and supervised in the sputum examination method. A further TB and AIDS-prevention project is underway in a region 100 kilometres north of Shymkent (target pop. 55,000), where MSF has renovated, re-equipped and supplied a 40-bed TB centre and trained laboratory staff. The team co-operates closely with the health authorities in implementing passive case detection and treatment using DOTS. In March 1998, MSF began working in the 135-bed TB ward in Nova Kazalinsk, Kizil Orda Oblast (pop. 610,000), concentrating on hygiene, sanitation and improvements to the laboratory, as well as training in DOTS.