TB is still all too prevalent in Russia.

An extended meeting of the ‘Inter-factional Deputies’ Working Group on prevention and combating HIV/AIDS and other socially significant infections’ was held in the State Duma. The day’s agenda included finding ways to counteract the spread of HIV and tuberculosis in Russia. According to Nadezhda Gerasimova, deputy chair of the State Duma, there are 82.6 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people. In the US, there are four cases per 100,000 people, in Canada the statistic is five, and in Sweden, Norway and Finland it is six per 100,000 people.

Julia Mihailova, deputy director of the Central Scientific Research Institute of Public Health reported that cases of tuberculosis fell for the first time by 2.9% in 2009. At the end of 2009, there were 262,000 cases of TB. Cases amongst children fell by 4% and amongst teenagers by 2%. Cases decreased amongst virtually all population groups. However, these statistics do not take into account TB amongst the homeless. In this group, the number of people with TB is increasing. Overall, there was a reduction in cases of TB in 2009. “However, the number of TB cases remains at an extremely high level in comparison with other European countries”, said Mihailova. In her opinion, the decrease in occurrences of tuberculosis is due to training of medical personnel and the resumption of research into the illness. She has noted that the total cost of treating one patient is 78,000 roubles. In addition, many Russians think that mostly migrants contract TB. “Nothing could be further from the truth – the highest number of cases of TB is amongst the indigenous population in our country” said Mihailova. There is a large-scale “epidemic” in Krasnoyarsky Krai and on Russia’s border with China and Mongolia. It was possible in these cases to improve diagnosis of the illness.

However, in 2009 only 57.6% of treatments for TB were effective, compared with a global statistic of 87%. Mihailova believes that the situation can be improved with better hospital technology and outpatient treatment. It is also necessary to establish a comprehensive system for providing TB treatment. Furthermore, it is important to “raise awareness of TB” amongst doctors and improve clinical examinations. Mikhail Perelman, tuberculosis specialist in Russia’s Ministry of Health and Social Development, has discussed methods of preventing the disease. According to him, the financial security of the population as well the level of education and culture, plays a big part in prevention of the disease. Children must be vaccinated, construction and repair of hospitals must be undertaken and people should be required to undergo X-rays. In addition, Perelman thinks the government should provide people with TB with a benefits package. The package should also be offered to health care professionals.

Vadim Pokrovsky, director of the Federal Scientific and Methodological Centre for Prevention and Control of Aids, has said that the number of people with TB and HIV rose from 9,000 in 2005 to 27,000 in 2008. According to Pokrovsky, in 2009 there were more than 58,000 new cases of HIV in Russia, up by 8% from the previous year.  The meeting concluded with the Inter-factional Deputies Working Group deciding to recommend the Russian Government consider the need to improve the organisation of care for TB patients with HIV.  

Translated by Lina Numan



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