Medical Frontlines: New Approaches to Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

Sudanese refugees began streaming across the border into South Sudan in June 2011 when conflict erupted between the Khartoum government and the rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in Sudan’s South Kordofan State. At the height of the crisis in Yida camp last summer, high mortality rates were reported among young children admitted to MSF’s hospital with respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia, one of the leading causes of death. MSF determined that vaccinating with the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) could result in a substantial mortality reduction in Yida. MSF has been working since September 2012 to procure PCV but faced significant delays due to lengthy negotiations and international legal procurement constraints. MSF was eventually able to obtain the vaccine from GSK at a reduced price, but delays have now pushed the planned vaccination into the logistically challenging rainy season. The objective is to immunize approximately 5,000 children under the age of 2 against several pathogens, including haemophilus influenza type B and pneumococcus. This is the first time that PCV is being used in South Sudan and one of the first vaccines to be implemented in compliance with the new WHO emergency vaccination recommendations.
Yann Libessart/MSF
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Join Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and New York Times science writer Denise Grady for an online panel discussion on the global crisis of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB). The panel, comprised of health care workers and patient advocates working to improve treatment for people living with DR-TB, featuring Dr. Grania Brigden, TB advisor, MSF Access Campaign; Cathy Hewison, TB medical advisor at MSF; Mark Harrington, executive director of the Treatment Action Group; and Evaline Kibuchi, Senior TB advocacy manager at the Kenya AIDS NGO Consortium (KANCO).

 

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