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MSF provides First Medical Aid and Mental Health Services to displaced people in Batken

Published: 10 May 2021 г.

Batken - On May 1st the international, medical emergency organisation, Médecins Sans Fontières set up mental health support and medical mobile clinics in Batken district following the recent cross-border conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The conflict started on April 28th, on the shore of Ak-Suu river, few meters from the conditional border line between the two countries; the conflict quickly spread to Leilek district.

Following reports of clashes, an MSF team deployed to Batken city on the 30th of April, where, following an assessment of needs among displaced populations, psychosocial care and primary healthcare for displaced people were identified as a major gaps.

Accordingly, on the 1st of May, the MSF team deployed a mobile medical team who started providing primary healthcare to the displaced in Batken city. The team found that the main morbidities include hypertension, diabetes, diarrhoea and fever.

In addition a team of MSF psychologists specializing in mental trauma started providing one-on-one counselling mainly to women and children.

“Our work is aimed at preventing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among the displaced people”, said Zhazgul Atagulova, MSF Psychologist. “Most people show signs of distress, anxiety, acute stress reaction, while some have symptoms of PTSD chronic distress and depression. Most of the people already have symptoms of PTSD, as borderline clashes and tensions are frequent in this part of the region”.

On the 2nd of May an MSF team conducted a rapid assessment to the western Batken region, which reportedly has more than 30,000 displaced, and a large number of homes and businesses burned.

MSF mobile clinic doctors conducting medical check up of a displaced woman in Batken district

“As soon as the road to Isfana opened we moved to conduct a rapid assessment in western Batken Oblast.”, said Kevin Coppock, MSF’s country director in Kyrgyzstan. “Many people are traumatised especially in the catchment areas of the Kolundu and Samarkandek hospitals. Both of these regions which have seen significant damage. We will support health authorities in providing basic health services and psychosocial care to conflict-affected families. It was very impressive to see the columns of vehicles from towns and cities all over Kyrgyzstan bringing assistance to the conflict affected area.”

MSF has worked in Kyrgyzstan since 1996. In Kara-Suu district, Osh province. MSF helped introduce new and innovative DR-TB diagnosis and care, including video-observed treatment to support adherence, and has promoted new, less toxic and shorter drug regimens, and improved case detection. For the past five years, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been providing medical assistance in Kadamjay, where rates of some chronic diseases are among the highest in Kyrgyzstan. Working closely with the Ministry of Health, our teams support district health authorities in the screening, diagnosis and prevention of ailments including diabetes, hypertension and anaemia, which is particularly widespread among children.

When COVID-19 peaked in Kyrgyzstan last year, MSF opened a COVID-19 home-based care programme for moderate and mild patients in Alamedin and Sokuluk, in Chuy province, to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. This programme was also extended to Kadamjay. The home-based management of COVID-19 was a first in the country and was introduced in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.