Key medical figures:
• 220 patients under treatment for TB, of which 28 for MDR-TB
Improving children’s access to tuberculosis (TB) treatment continued to be the main focus of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Tajikistan in 2013.
In 2011, MSF started a paediatric TB programme to improve access and quality of care for children with drug-sensitive TB, drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) and multidrugresistant TB (MDR-TB). The team continued to support the paediatric TB hospital in Dushanbe in 2013, offering diagnosis and comprehensive care to children who were admitted. Their family members were also tested and treated, and MSF worked with the Ministry of Health to diagnose and treat those who had come into close contact with the children.
MSF provided outpatient care for children and their families wherever possible, along with nutritional and psychosocial support to help them adhere to the difficult treatment. Hospitalised children took part in MSF-organised activities to aid their development, and teams also conducted activities to decrease the stigma surrounding the disease. The diagnostic tools and treatment currently used are not adapted for children. MSF is hoping to find ways to better diagnose DR-TB and MDR-TB and produce paediatric formulations of the drugs, for example syrups.
Following an outbreak of kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis), MSF trained 200 Ministry of Health staff and introduced a rapid test. Kala azar is a parasitic disease that is almost always fatal if left untreated, and the specialist facilities and expertise required for reliable diagnosis are often missing in areas where it is prevalent. At the request of the Tajik Ministry of Health, MSF developed treatment guidelines for the national kala azar programme.
No. staff end 2013: 64 | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1997