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The network uses best practices in the fight against tuberculosis


The All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH continues attracting best practices in combating TB.

In June 2017, the Network expert Yuriy Varchenko took part in the III International Training Workshop on “Improving TB control in prisons in high MDR/XDR-TB burden countries”, which took place in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

“Azerbaijan is one of the leaders in overcoming tuberculosis in the penitentiary system of the Transcaucasian region, which was made possible through strictly abiding by WHO recommendations,” said Yuriy Varchenko. “Unlike Ukraine, the medical service in Azerbaijan’s penitentiary system is a separate unit. The interaction between the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Health and the medical service of the penitentiary system is governed by regulatory and legal acts and works in an automatic and fail-safe manner. Accordingly, such problems as delayed transportation, delay in quarantining, diagnosis or treatment of prisoners with tuberculosis are simply nonexistent”.

The introduction of the new system allowed Azerbaijan to achieve fantastic results. In particular, the effectiveness of susceptible TB treatment increased from 40% in 1998 to 93% in 2015, and the effectiveness of MDR-TB treatment at the end of 2014 was more than 75%. TB incidence among prisoners has decreased 4 times in comparison with 2005, and mortality – a much as 105 times since 1995!

The system in Azerbaijan has the following features.

Instead of sputum bacterioscopy, GeneXpert – an advanced method for rapid diagnosis of TB and rifampicin sensitivity check, has been used for several years for primary diagnostics of TB in the penitentiary service of Azerbaijan. The Penitentiary Service of Azerbaijan is fully provided with cartridges for GeneXpert and all anti-TB drugs at the expense of the state budget and the Global Fund support, while measures of infection control are observed.

All persons entering the detention center and persons delivered to the correctional facilities are subject to mass screening for TB in 24 hours. There are three pre-trial detention facilities in Azerbaijan, they are all equipped with stationary digital X-ray machines and GeneXpert. Persons suspected of having TB or having a confirmed TB diagnosis are immediately isolated and transported to the admissions department of the specialized TB hospital of the penitentiary system. Transportation is provided by a specially designated vehicle, which is equipped with an UV emitter and air supply and exhaust ventilation. Hospital branches are isolated from each other, formed according to the profile of susceptibility to anti-tuberculosis drugs and the presence of bacterial excretion. The chambers are equipped with air recyclers and ventilation.

“If we applied the experience of Azerbaijan, then the goal of eliminating tuberculosis in the penitentiary service of Ukraine would have already been reached in the shortest terms”, Yuriy Varchenko said.

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