Russian Federation: Helping those living on the streets

MSF's projects in other parts of the country have yielded mixed results. MSF was forced to close its long-term tuberculosis (TB) program in Siberian prisons after Russian authorities prohibited MSF from implementing its treatment regimen for prisoners with drug-resistant TB, which was based on internationally accepted standards. However, MSF refused to agree to the Russian treatment schedule in the prison because of concerns that it would result in a high risk of treatment failure and the emergence of super resistance to the drugs. The project had been running for seven years and had treated more than 1,000 patients. MSF's project serving the homeless in Moscow, on the other hand, was successfully handed over in November 2003 to city authorities, who are continuing to provide free medical and social assistance to people living on the street. Still, last winter 303 people died from the cold, down from the 437 the year before. MSF is now preparing to publish a book in Russian on its 11 years of experience caring for people living on the street. The aim of the publication will be to promote similar projects for the homeless in other Russian cities. A new program to help street children is now being developed. MSF doctors and psychologists are working with youth living in railway stations and other places where young people are neglected and exploited. MSF has worked in the Russian Federation since 1988. INTERNATIONAL STAFF: 6 NATIONAL STAFF: 135