Kazakhstan: TB continues to ravage population

This led to a program for syphilis prevention, diagnosis and treatment in Osh region from 1997. MSF improved screening quality and was instrumental in introducing a new national treatment protocol, backed by training for lab staff and specialist doctors, and supplies of medicines. Patients do not now have to be hospitalized to receive treatment. MSF also set up an STD information center in the town of Osh targeting the general population and groups at risk; and developed a program to treat and refer previously excluded sex workers and their children. Two local NGOs were enabled to take these over when MSF withdrew from Kyrgyzstan in December 2001. Public health has suffered in Kazakhstan since it gained independence in 1991. Tuberculosis (TB) was declared a national disaster in 1998. Many cases are resistant to conventional treatment. Since 1998, MSF has been working with local health authorities to implement the DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short-course) TB strategy in the districts of Baidibek and Ordobassy in the South Kazakhstan region. | MSF does case-finding, treats patients at two 80-bed TB facilities in Karaspan and Mombulak, trains staff and supports two laboratories. It also does health education and rehabilitates TB facilities. Its current program will close at the end of 2002, having implemented all planned activities. MSF has been working in Kazakhstan since 1996. International staff: 8 National staff: 29