Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has helped to tackle resistant forms of tuberculosis (TB) in Armenia since 2015. In 2019, we handed over our remaining activities to the national health authorities.
Many Armenians are living with a multi drug-resistant form of tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The disease requires them to take multiple medications, including some under the supervision of a medical professional. For these patients, the treatment is a long and arduous process but those who adhere to the treatment protocol have an increased chance of recovery.
Armenia has one of the highest rates of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) in the world. In 2005, MSF began working with the national tuberculosis program to provide treatment for patients with this form of the disease in the capital, Yerevan. Ten years later, Armenia was one of the first countries to use delamanid, a drug that promised to be less toxic and more effective. Between 2015 and 2019, over 1,700 patients were enrolled in our DR-TB program. Learn how you can best help in Armenia and other countries.
More than 1,500 received conventional treatments, while 107 participated in the endTB observational study, an international initiative aimed at finding shorter, less toxic, and more effective treatments for DR-TB. Other patients received bedaquiline, another of the newer drugs, as part of a compassionate use program, whereby patients are given access to investigational drugs. Such drugs are not approved for mass production but there is sufficient evidence of their potential benefits and limited risks.
With the National Control Center for Tuberculosis (NTCC), the MSF-supported project in Armenia was able to implement many innovative advances, including systematic testing for chronic active hepatitis among multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) patients, treatment with direct-acting antivirals and all-oral regimens. We handed over activities to the NTCC once the endTB study was complete.
We first worked in Armenia in 1988 to respond to medical needs following the Spitak earthquake. Over the next three decades, activities included the provision of medical equipment and support during the Nagorno-Karabakh war (1992–1997), a TB project in Nagorno-Karabakh (1997-2002) and a project for children experiencing cruel treatment in a special education complex in Yerevan (1997-2004). Please donate to support our work in Armenia and other countries around the world now.