Key medical figures:
• 300 patients under treatment for TB
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) estimates the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) among prisoners in Kyrgyzstan to be 20 to 30 times higher than in the general population, with mortality rates as much as 60 times higher.
MSF continued to offer TB care to prisoners in the penitentiary system in Bishkek, the country’s capital, which holds up to 9,000 inmates. In the institutions where prisoners are detained until sentencing, teams provided full health screening and put identified TB patients on treatment traightaway. Staff also diagnosed and treated inmates with multidrug- resistant TB (MDR-TB). Using a comprehensive approach to TB patient management, MSF also supported treatment for co-occurring illnesses, and offered screening and vaccination for hepatitis B. Uninterrupted completion of treatment is crucial in order for it to be successful, and the team ensured followups once individuals were released from prison. Having helped establish protocols, increased infection control and improved access to care, MSF plans to hand over the penitentiary project by the end of 2014. MSF has also actively supported the development of a newly constructed national reference laboratory in Bishkek.
Promoting ambulatory care for TB
In Kara-Suu district, Osh province, where rates of TB are among the highest in the country, MSF supported the Kara-Suu hospital, which has 80 beds for TB and DR-TB patients. This project aims to become a model for effective walk-in treatment. Whenever possible, patients receive care hrough the community-based healthcare system, with ambulatory or home-based treatment, rather than being hospitalised. Psychosocial counselling for patients and their families, and social packages (nutritional support, hygiene kits and transport money) are provided to help patients adhere to treatment. Rehabilitation of the hospital and basic health facilities was supported by MSF to ensure optimal infection control and etter sanitary conditions for the patients. Teams also worked with health centre staff to improve clinical case management, and the detection of people suffering
from TB, DR-TB and HIV–TB co-infection in the district. Comprehensive care was provided to people with drug-resistant forms of TB, and those with certain co-occurring illnesses.
I still remember the day in the TB centre when my MSF doctors told me that I was cured and could stop the treatment. I had a strange feeling of happiness, which I really cannot find any words to describe. I still can’t believe that the treatment has finished. I have conquered death. I want to thank you all and to say that good people can save the world.
No. staff end 2013: 130 | Year MSF first worked in the country: 2005