Tuberculosis is Back in Chechnya
After decades of decline, tuberculosis is making a comeback in various countries, especially in conflict zones like Chechnya. According to US-based NGO International Medical Corps (IMC), which has been working for the past ten year in Chechnya, the disease has reached epidemic proportions.
“The 20 years that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union and the 15 years of war have brought tuberculosis (TB) back to the scene,” said Simon Rasin from IMC.
In Chechnya, there are 325 registered TB sufferers for every 100,000 residents. In comparison, Moscow has 77 cases per every 100,000 people; in European countries, the number drops to a dozen.
However, the real number could be much higher since not everyone reports the disease fearing the social stigma that comes with it.
Last year, TB killed as many as 139 people out of a population of just over 1 million. Quick action could save many lives, but Chechnya lacks almost everything in terms of medical facilities and staff.
The Russian government earmarked more than US$ 9 million to rebuild the hospital two years ago as part of Grozny’s reconstruction program for erasing the signs of the war crimes, but however local puppet authorities appear in no rush to perform, they are busy only with filling their own pockets!
This is not the only problem. Chechnya is sorely lacking in trained medical staff, and the poor security situation and low salaries have combined to deter foreign specialists from taking up jobs here.
On the other hand ignorance about the disease makes matters worse. TB is so contagious that patients must endure long periods of isolation. Many sufferers, too ashamed to seek medical help, prefer to hide the disease or opt for traditional remedies that experts say allow the disease to progress unchecked.