- About Us
- Our Work
- Work With MSF
- Public Events
- Press Room
MSF in Uzbekistan, 2011
All articles on Uzbekistan »
Drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) is widespread in Uzbekistan. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is introducing a comprehensive treatment and support program.
DR-TB can be transmitted from person to person just like drug-sensitive tuberculosis, but it can also develop when a TB patient, either through mismanagement or misuse of medication, becomes resistant to the standard TB drugs. DR-TB treatment is arduous – side effects are common, and include nausea, headaches and sleep disturbances – and takes up to two years. Understandably, it can be very difficult for patients to complete the course of treatment.
Implementing comprehensive TB care
In the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, northwest Uzbekistan, MSF expanded its program from two to five of 16 districts: Chimbay, Khodjeyli, Takhiatash town, Nukus town and Nukus region, and tripled the number of patients. By the end of the year, some 780 patients were receiving treatment for DR-TB, and almost 200 were receiving treatment for drug-sensitive TB.
MSF’s program includes a range of approaches, which all contribute to improving adherence. Treating people as outpatients from day one, instead of imposing a stay in hospital, can make treatment more bearable. Educating patients about DR-TB, the medication and the side effects enables them to better understand and manage their disease. Psychological assistance, in the form of individual, group and family counseling sessions, supports patients in coping with the physical and social effects both of having TB and being on treatment. More practical social support, such as help with transport and food, is also provided.
Amid signs that Uzbekistan’s commitment to tackling TB is strengthening, MSF plans to expand its program to three more districts in 2012.
At the end of 2011, MSF had 157 staff in Uzbekistan. MSF has been working in the country since 1997.