Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continues to work to improve the quality and availability of treatment for tuberculosis (TB).
Uzbekistan is one of many countries in Central Asia with high levels of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), a form of the disease that does not respond to the standard first-line drug regimen. Access to diagnosis and good-quality care is still limited and the vast majority of people with DR-TB remain undiagnosed and untreated.
MSF believes that introducing new approaches to diagnosis and treatment of TB – such as ambulatory care, rapid diagnostic tests and a comprehensive patient support programme including education, psychological support, transportation, food packages and financial aid – will help increase adherence to treatment and control the spread of the disease.
TB programme in Karakalpakstan
In the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, MSF runs a TB programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, helping patients manage the side effects of their drugs and providing psychosocial support to improve treatment adherence. In 2014, over 2,000 patients were enrolled for first-line TB treatment and 607 for DR-TB. Many patients underwent treatment on an outpatient basis, so they avoided the additional stress of hospitalisation. During 2014, MSF continued to enrol multidrug-resistant TB patients on a shorter, nine month regimen instead of the usual two years. The first people who started the regimen in 2013 finished their treatment, and MSF will continue to monitor them for 12 months to check that the TB does not return.
Treating HIV in Tashkent
MSF is also seeking to address the developing HIV epidemic in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital city. Teams continued to work at the Tashkent City AIDS Centre, and a total of 671 people were started on antiretroviral treatment. Psychosocial activities such as counselling were also provided.
No. staff in 2014: 246 | Expenditure: €5.9 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1997 | msf.org/uzbekistan