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Siberian Mobile Clinic Initiative Works To Treat Drug-Resistant TB, NPR Reports

As part of an ongoing series on tuberculosis (TB), NPR’s “Shots” blog and “All Things Considered” program examine an initiative working to treat drug-resistant TB in Siberia, noting, “In parts of Siberia, nearly 30 percent of all tuberculosis cases aren’t treatable by two of the most potent medications, the [WHO] reported last year.” The blog writes, “One Siberian city is tackling the problem with an innovative health program, called Sputnik, affectionately named after the first man-made satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957.” Sputnik operates as a mobile clinic, with “teams of nurses [that] orbit like satellites around the sprawling city of Tomsk, finding and treating patients with drug-resistant TB,” the blog notes. According to NPR, “The program is a joint effort between Russia’s Health Ministry and the American non-profit Partners in Health. It’s the first mobile TB clinic of its kind, and it allows health workers to fight the disease among the people who are the hardest to reach — the homeless, the mentally ill and drug addicts.” NPR describes the program and writes, “Sputnik is only one of many ways that the city is fighting drug-resistant TB, but it’s a crucial one, says Alexander Barnashov, a head physician at the Tomsk Health Department.” The blog notes, “The success of Sputnik has prompted other Russian cities to start programs of their own, Barnashov says” (Flintoff, 7/9).