In 2018, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) handed over tuberculosis (TB) activities in Chechnya and started a new collaboration in northwest Russia.
In May 2018, MSF signed a memorandum of understanding with the regional Ministry of Health of Arkhangelsk oblast. Our aim is to support the Ministry and the Northern State Medical University in assessing the effectiveness of shorter treatment regimens for patients with multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB. The outcomes will provide evidence for future developments in TB policy in Russia and make more effective models of treatment available to more people.
In Chechnya, we successfully completed the handover of our TB program to the Ministry of Health in May, providing assistance to the laboratory in Grozny to ensure a smooth transition, and making a donation of drugs and diagnostic materials to support the ongoing treatment of approximately 70 patients recruited over the previous two years.
We set up the program in Chechnya in 2004 to treat patients with drug-sensitive TB in close cooperation with the Chechen Ministry of Health. In 2012, the program changed its focus to drug-resistant TB patients, in response to the evident needs. Our Chechen patients were among the first to have access to the latest TB drugs, bedaquiline and delamanid, in 2014 and 2015 respectively. We treated 5,156 patients for different forms of TB in Chechnya between 2004 and 2018, including 156 who were treated using bedaquiline and/or delamanid.