This week, NPR published a set of articles on drug-resistant tuberculosis in Tomsk, Russia. For 15 years, PIH has worked closely with the Russian Ministry of Health and Ministry of Justice to develop, implement, and scale up community-based programs to treat the most vulnerable patients in this remote region.
In the first article, “'Sputnik' Orbits A Russian City, Finding And Healing Tuberculosis,” NPR follows a first-of-its-kind mobile TB clinic through the city. Journalist Corey Flintoff writes:
"One Siberian city is tackling the problem with an innovative health program, called Sputnik, affectionately named after the first man-made satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. The new Sputnik is a mobile clinic; teams of nurses orbit like satellites around the sprawling city of Tomsk, finding and treating patients with drug-resistant TB.
The program is a joint effort between Russia's Health Ministry and the American nonprofit Partners in Health. It's the first mobile TB clinic of its kind, and it allows health workers to fight the disease among the people who are the hardest to reach — the homeless, the mentally ill and drug addicts."
The second article, "Treating The 'Body And Soul' In A Russian TB Prison," also by Flintoff, focuses on PIH’s work in a Siberian prison. Flintoff writes:
"In the last decade, Russia has found itself contending with new strains of TB that are resistant to many drugs and hard to cure. For years, prisons were considered to be one of the most dangerous pockets of drug-resistant TB in Russia and a source of the disease in the general community. In 2002, more than 79,000 inmates had active TB infections, and drug-resistant forms were present in about 50 percent of chronic cases.
But the Russian prison system has been working to change that. About a decade ago, it got together with the nonprofit Partners In Health and set up a clinic at a Siberian prison specifically aimed at treating tuberculosis among inmates."