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Médecins Sans Frontières

Meeting with Willem de Jong "Médecins Sans Frontières" (58-60 Galernaya Street).

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organisation that provides emergency medical assistance to populations in danger in more than 70 countries.
In countries where health structures are insufficient or even non-existant, MSF collaborates with authorities such as the Ministry of Health to provide assistance. MSF works in rehabilitation of hospitals and dispensaries, vaccination programmes and water and sanitation projects. MSF also works in remote health care centres, slum areas and provides training of local personnel. All this is done with the objective of rebuilding health structures to acceptable levels.
MSF has worked in Russia since 1988 and North Caucasus since 1995.
The MSF programmes in the North Caucasus, in Chechnya and Ingushetia provide surgery, mother-and-child healthcare, mental-health support, and tuberculosis (TB) care
In the post-conflict region of Russian North Caucasus, the situation remains volatile. Security in Chechnya has improved, while in neighbouring Ingushetia it has worsened dramatically. For security reasons, visits by MSF international staff to the project sites remain short if regular, and much of the responsibility for running the programmes lies with the national staff.
Thousands of people who lost their homes during the wars are still living as refugees in Ingushetia or Dagestan, or in Grozny itself. MSF ran a medical centre in Nazran, Ingushetia, which provides medical and mental-health consultations for these people. The clinic conducted up to 1,200 consultations a month in 2008. Doctors provided women's and paediatric healthcare in clinics in Grozny. On average, more than 1,300 gynaecological consultations were provided each month in the Staropromyslovsky area. MSF also supported the Republican Women's Hospital in Grozny and district hospitals in the mountainous villages of Shatoy, Sharoy and Itum-Kale, supplying drugs and medical materials.
In 2006, MSF opened a surgery project in the republic's main hospital, Grozny Hospital Number 9, to treat long-standing injuries and chronic disabilities sustained in the war, and victims of road traffic accidents. In 2008, MSF operated on 445 patients and conducted 11,056 physiotherapy consultations here.
TB became a problem for the region after patients' treatment and follow-up were interrupted because of the war. MSF restored the remaining TB hospitals, set up waste-disposal facilities, trained the local medical staff and started treating patients. Early in 2008, the programme expanded to include a TB dispensary in the capital, Grozny. MSF will provide TB treatment throughout Chechnya, including to patients in the remote mountainous regions who had no access to TB care. Since the beginning of the programme in 2004, 1,800 patients have been treated.
A powerful earthquake hit Chechnya in October 2008, killing 13 people, injuring more than 100 and causing destruction. Shocks continued over several days and people spent cold nights outside, fearful that the remaining buildings would collapse. MSF sent mobile teams to the five most severely affected villages and provided more than 1,000 medical and 3,000 psychosocial consultations.
Because MSF does not aim to duplicate the existing or emerging local services, a few MSF programmes in the region were closed down or handed over in 2008. MSF handed over the two refurbished polyclinics in Grozny in which teams had run free pharmacies and a reproductive health and family-planning clinic. Mobile medical teams no longer serve temporary accommodation centres in Grozny. In 2009, MSF will stop its emergency surgery programme in Grozny, since the number of interventions performed there each month is declining


25 september

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