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MSF in Armenia, 2007
Field Staff: 65
Reason for Intervention:
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Poor adherence to treatment programs and late diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB ) are critical problems in Armenia. The treatment success rate is low and the lack of control over the spread of TB is one of multiple problems facing the crippled health care system.
Armenia remains largely impoverished. The complexity and high cost of TB treatment has led to MSF being the only medical agency dealing with drug resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) in Armenia. When uncontrolled, this disease has serious consequences. Particularly alarming is the emergence of extensive drug resistant (XDR) TB, when a patient is resistant to the main second-line drugs.
Treatment for drug resistant TB takes up to 24 months and involves a daily intake of dozens of medicines that can cause unpleasant side effects. Despite this, by the end of 2007, a few patients had completed the MSF treatment program in Abovian, near the capital, Yerevan.
When the program started in 2005, it covered a population of about 300,000 in two Yerevan city districts and occupied a small ward at the Republican TB Hospital. In early 2007, MSF started to treat patients in the renovated 36-bed facility in Abovian dedicated to drug resistant TB treatment. Inpatient treatment is offered, including to those with severe cases of extreme drug resistant TB. Once the period of hospitalisation is over, patients are followed up through mobile clinics or home-based care until the treatment cycle is completed.
Since the start of the program, more than 100 patients have been enrolled. In collaboration with the National TB Program, the objective is to expand the treatment to other districts of Yerevan.
MSF has worked in Armenia since 1988.