Tajikistan: Environmental disaster affects health

MSF's medical programme is based in Muynak, which once used to be located on the shore of the Aral Sea, but which now lies on a saltline encrusted with the residue of pesticides.

At the end of 1997, MSF established itself in the area and is now carrying out six projects involving medical aid (tuberculosis (TB) control, improvements in the prevention and control of acute respiratory infections (ARI) and diarrheal diseases, epidemiological support to the Ministry of Health), operational research into possible effect of this environmental disaster on public health, health education through local television, training and activities in the area of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. To draw attention to the problems in the area, the team regularly gives lectures for international organisations.

MSF is the only international medical aid organisation on the scene of what some have called the "worst environmental disaster in the world".