1 November 1998
International staff : 4 National staff: 11 Health system needs revamping The health ministry is unable to undertake singlehandedly the drastic institutional overhaul required by the health system. It has therefore initiated the MANAS "plan", financed by various external bodies, to assist in health structure reforms. MSF continues to implement a programme, integrated into the MANAS plan, responding to the alarming increase in STDs, particularly syphilis. There was a recorded rise of 700% between 1993 and 1996 in the Osh region alone. This is mainly a training programme directed towards dermato-venerological specialists in order to improve the biological diagnosis of STDs, as well as the drugs supply and treatment available, which is being brought into line with WHO protocols. Prevention and information activities focusing on STDs and AIDS are targeted at high risk groups (drug addicts, prostitutes, prisoners, young people) and the population in general. The programme is being carried out in collaboration with 16 health structures dealing with STDs in the Osh region. Some renovation work is also being done and equipment supplied for a laboratory in Osh and an outpatient consultation room in Osh general hospital. As there is a low incidence of AIDS for the moment (only 17 recorded cases in 1997), MSF hopes that a continued expansion of preventive action will keep numbers down in a part of the world with a generally high incidence.