Hope and hurdles - drugs are not enough to fight MDR tuberculosis

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This investigation will show how science, the social setting and changes in funding interact in unexpected ways in the fight against tuberculosis in Mozambique and Belarus.

  • €7,440 Budget in Euros
  • 2019 Final release date
  • 5 Round winner
  • 2 Locations

A full hand of Pills every day, every day headache, nausea, fatigue. For two years and nerve ever forget the drugs. That is the reality for most patients with multi drug resistant tuberculosis. No wonder, that many rather end the treatment than endure it. However this picture begins to change. Delamanid and Bedaquilin, the first new TB drugs for 50 years, allow a shorter nine month treatment. In Mozambique Doctors without Borders changed the regime for 150 patients that struggle with MDR-TB and many with HIV as well. They have a close eye on each patient to detect problems early and to intervene directly. With new drugs and this patient centered approach treatment success is much higher. This requires dedication and money not only for one study but in the long run. Mozambique gets drugs via the Global Fund quality assured and relatively cheap. Paradoxically this can become a problem in countries like Belarus, with a much stronger economy than Mozambique. The Global Fund pulls out of low middle income countries, which not only leads to money shortages but also to problems with access to quality assured drugs which in turn can fuel MDR-TB. In Minsk, Doctors without Borders looks for new ways to support groups in need like alcoholics and to organize relevant studies for easier and cheaper drug regimens to help patients and the health system of Belarus. The organization warns that warns that transition out of Global Fund can lead to a resurgence of multi-drug-resistant TB
not only in Belarus but in many countries in a comparable situation. The report will look at the realty of MDR-TB treatment in Maputo and Minsk and how new drugs (another one will get FDA approval next week) and new approaches have led to higher healing rates. This is only possible with adequate funding and international help. Here the report will
highlight the critical role of Global Fund. At the same time the question has to be asked how the necessary transition out of it can be organized in a way that leaves treatment programs intact. This is not only a question of funding. Equally important is to organize processes of drug approval and find ways to convince companies that a market like Belarus is
worth their effort.
The fight against MDR-TB needs dedicated doctors, drugs, science and adequate organization. This last point may appear technical, but it impact the lives of patients directly. To show this connection is the aim of the report.

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