PIH Russia reached major milestones in 2006, both in a training program aimed at improving care for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) throughout the Russian Federation and in strengthening delivery of treatment to patients in Tomsk Oblast, Siberia.

Highlights of PIH’s work in Russia during the year included:

Training doctors to treat MDR-TB: Working in collaboration with the Russian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, PIH Russia led three comprehensive training sessions on management of multidrug-resistant TB for doctors from the Russian medical system. Two sessions were held near Moscow and one in Novosibirsk, Siberia, providing training to 213 physicians representing 80 percent of the territory of the Russian Federation. With continuing support from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, two more sessions are planned in 2007 to extend training to the entire country.

Using community health workers to reach the neediest patients: In November, PIH Russia and Tomsk Oblast TB Services launched a new pilot outreach program to improve treatment adherence and support for the poorest and most neglected MDR-TB patients in the region. The "Sputnik Program" marks the first use in Russia of what has long been a key component of PIH's model of care in other countries – recruiting, training and paying community health workers to provide directly observed therapy and comprehensive social, nutritional and medical support.

Expanding access to treatment: PIH Russia received approval from the World Health Organization’s Green Light Committee to enroll 350 additional MDR-TB patients in treatment, the final cohort of a Global Fund grant covering a total of 950 Russian MDR-TB patients since 2004.

Improving quality of TB care: The Global Fund approved phase two (years 3-5) of a grant to PIH Russia for the treatment of MDR-TB in Tomsk Oblast. PIH is the primary recipient of this grant to Tomsk Oblast, providing clinical, financial and programmatic monitoring for all TB patients in the Oblast.

Continuing training, advocacy and research: For the third consecutive year, the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation awarded PIH Russia $1 million to conduct MDR-TB training, advocacy and research in Russia.

Confronting an epidemic of alcoholism: In July, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism awarded a grant to Harvard University to conduct a randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of different alcohol interventions in conjunction with Partners In Health, East Tennessee State University and the Tomsk Oblast TB Services in Tomsk, Russia. The Brigham and Women's Hospital, McLean Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health are also participating in the project.

[posted January 2007]