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Spotlight: ISP Volunteers in Moscow 

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ISP Volunteers in MoscowScholarship alumni and students in Moscow.
Top row, from left to right:
Olimi Shirinbek, Firuz Nazarshoev, Yusuf Raimbekov, Jamshed Muborakshoev, Shodmon Shakarbekov, Himat Sulaimonov, Khushnud Nazrishoev.
Front row, from left to right
: Farangis Alibakhshova, Afifa Olamova, Nigina Ramikhudoeva, Zainura Vafobekova, Saida Mamadnazarova, Borkhotun Iskandarkhanova
Click to enlarge photograph
ISP Volunteers in Moscow - In May 2008, a group of Ismaili doctors living, studying and working in Moscow was organised by the Aga Khan Foundation (Russia) into a voluntary group known as the Ismaili Doctors’ Initiative (IDI).  Their aim is to address the growing health needs of Tajik labour migrants in the Russian Federation who have limited ability to access and secure affordable and good quality health care.

The IDI currently consists of a Medical Coordinator and 22 specialist physicians. To obtain assistance from the IDI clients can call a 24-hour hotline manned by AKF’s Medical Coordinator.  Clients explain their problem and are referred to a volunteer with expertise in their condition. The volunteer doctor proposes a time and place to meet with the client and, at the time of the consultation, diagnoses the case and outlines a treatment plan.

Of the 22 doctors involved, nine are AKF scholarship students or alumni:

Since the outset, the IDI has served more than 1,000 callers. Seven percent of the calls were emergencies that required the AKF Coordinator to arrange an ambulance to transport the client to a hospital. The hospitalized patients were then followed-up by the IDI members or the Medical Coordinator as appropriate.  The most common conditions deal with pregnancy and delivery (16%); problems of the genitor-urinary system (15%), the digestive system (13%), and the respiratory system (10%).

The IDI also carries out a health awareness programme that is implemented during home or workplace visits and in community meetings. During these outreach visits, the IDI team collects basic medico-social data and performs preliminary health screening. The programme provides basic information on reproductive health and on such conditions as TB, HIV/STDs, stresses the importance of using safety measures at construction sites, and addresses the problems of alcohol and smoking. It is hoped that through these supplementary initiatives the number of callers to the helpline will be maintained at a sustainable level.  Also planned is a second hot-line to provide psychosocial support to address the social problems associated with the life of migrants in a large city.

Some other plans for alumni participation are the start of an Ismaili Lawyer’s Initiative (ILI) to assist newly arrived migrants with registration and other legal issues, tutorials for students and language training in Russian in the summer.

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