Belarus: Latest MSF Updates

 

This information is excerpted from MSF’s 2016 International Activity Report.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is working with the Ministry of Health in Belarus to improve adherence to treatment for patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

Belarus is listed as an MDR-TB high burden country in the World Health Organization’s 2016 Global Tuberculosis Report. MSF is supporting the Ministry of Health in four TB facilities: The Republican Scientific and Practical Center of Pulmonology and Tuberculosis (RSPC PT), First and Second City TB dispensaries in Minsk, and City TB Hospital in Volkovichi, Minsk Region. MSF provides psychosocial support to increase treatment adherence (counseling, food parcels, transport vouchers, and support from social workers) to between 150 and 200 patients every month. MSF conducted a review in 2016 and identified alcohol use disorder as one of the main risk factors for poor adherence, which the program now addresses.

By the end of 2016, MSF was also treating 50 patients with extensively drug-resistant TB using a new regimen which includes bedaquiline and delamanid.

As part of its efforts in the region, MSF is participating in the endTB observational study (output 1). The study covers more than 15 countries and aims to find treatments for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) that are faster, less toxic, and have fewer debilitating side effects. MSF is conducting the study in partnership with Partners In Health and Interactive Research and Development. By the end of December 2016, 46 patients in Belarus had been recruited for the study.

At the end of the year, MSF and the RSPC PT obtained approval from the regulatory authorities and the ethics committee to collaborate on a clinical trial for MDR-TB, which will run concurrently with the endTB study.

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