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Despite high rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) in Uzbekistan, most people who have the disease are undiagnosed and go without medical care.
In the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is helping address gaps in TB diagnosis and treatment, focusing on the provision of quality medical care for patients with DR-TB, who do not respond to the standard first-line regimen of drugs that can cure drug-sensitive TB.
MSF is also introducing new approaches, such as using rapid diagnostic tests and treating people as outpatients so they do not always have to be hospitalized.
TB medication can have powerful side effects such as headaches and nausea, which can cause patients to interrupt or discontinue their regimens. MSF helps patients medically manage side effects and provides counseling to see them through treatment. The program also supports patients with education, transportation, food packages and financial aid.
In 2012, MSF expanded its program of comprehensive TB care to the districts of Kegeily and Nukus Town, while TB care in the districts of Takhtakupir and Karauzyak was handed over to the Ministry of Health in June.