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June 07, 2013

Imagine you are nine months pregnant and ready to give birth. You feel your contractions start. You are excited and afraid, but mostly you are in pain and praying that everything will go well.

New MSF report "Help Wanted : Confronting the health care worker crisis to expand access to HIV/AIDS treatment"

Tuberculosis (TB) kills two million people and infects nine million every year, and those numbers are rising, especially in southern Africa, which has the highest rates of HIV. TB-HIV co-infection is already a major problem and it is only getting worse, in part because of a lack of effective diagnostic tools and treatments. Dr. Peter Saranchuk was the medical coordinator at MSF’s HIV/AIDS project in Lesotho. Here, he explains the reasons behind the dangerous relationship between TB and HIV.

MSF program manager Filipe Ribero has conducted several evaluations at sites where displaced persons are living in Tbilisi and Gori.  In the field, there is a sharp contrast between a massive influx of international aid and limited opportunities — for now — to provide assistance. What is the current situation in Georgia?

Fighting has calmed in and around the breakaway region of South Ossetia, and the warring parties have reached a ceasefire agreement. The short, violent conflict has displaced a lot of people in Georgia, South Ossetia and the Northern Caucasus region of Russia. As of 20 August, MSF is still unable to access South Ossetia, the area where the conflict had broken out, in order to conduct an independent needs assessment and provide medical and humanitarian aid to the population if necessary.

An MSF emergency team based in Tbilisi has been able to gain access to the separatist province of South Ossetia and visit Tskhinvali Hospital. MSF, which already provides support to displaced people in Tbilisi, has offered to provide medical assistance in South Ossetia. On August 23 an MSF team was able to gain access to Tskhinvali in Southern Ossetia, visiting the republican hospital in this city where intense fighting broke out on August 7. The situation has been slowly returning to normal in the aftermath of the peace accord signed by Russia and Georgia.

In Tbilisi, MSF emergency teams are providing medical aid to those who have fled the fighting among Russians, Ossetians, and Georgians in South Ossetia. They are chiefly offering medical attention to people in shelters, some of them very elderly. Kalistine G. is having a hard time getting used to her new surroundings. This 82-year-old native of Georgia has been in Tbilisi for several days, where she has found refuge in an abandoned building that used to house the former Finance Ministry.

Short-sighted savings measures ignore latest science, will cost more lives