Sputum culture is tested to detect tuberculosis at the National Reference Laboratory in Abovyan, Armenia.
Andrea Bussotti/MSF
Click to hide Text

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

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) focused on implementing new regimens for patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Armenia, which has one of the highest rates of the disease in the world. The main challenge in treating MDR-TB patients is the length and toxicity of the regimen itself, which involves taking up to 20 tablets every day for two years, months of painful daily injections, and severe side effects. Even then, treatment is only successful for around half of MDR-TB patients and a quarter of those with the extensively drug-resistant (XDR) form of the disease. Armenia was one of the first countries to authorize the use of two new TB drugs, bedaquiline and delamanid, which promise to be less toxic and more effective. In 2016, 66 MDR-TB patients started the new regimen and 79 were under treatment by the end of the year.