In Tajikistan’s capital, the Dushanbe project team has started treating the first patient on Delamanid, one of the first new tuberculosis (TB) medicines in over 50 years. This follows several months of preparations and negotiations with the ministry of health and its counterparts.
After seeing a presentation by Médecins Sans Frontières at the first Médecins Sans Frontières TB Symposium for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, that detailed the successful use of Delamanid to treat multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extreme-drug resistant (XDR) TB, the ministry of health of Tajikistan allowed the organization to use Delamanid, bringing it into the country through a humanitarian import waiver. The importation builds on the success of last year, as Médecins Sans Frontières was the first organisation in Tajikistan to bring Bedaquiline into the country.
"Using new TB medicines is one of the key objectives of the project in Dushanbe– and to facilitate access to newer drugs to the National TB Program of Tajikistan"
Delamanid and Bedaquiline offer patients with MDR-TB and XDR-TB, who would otherwise have no other alternatives, a more effective treatment and their only hope to be cured. For this reason, in high burden MRD-TB countries like Tajikistan, access to new TB medicines is essential. Using new TB medicines is one of the key objectives of the project in Dushanbe– and to facilitate access to newer drugs to the National TB Program of Tajikistan. Ultimately, this will lead to wider use of new medicines in the country and throughout the region due to improved collaborations with other Médecins Sans Frontières projects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Until Médecins Sans Frontières began operations in 2011, children with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) – those for whom first-line treatment fails – did not receive the more intensive, potentially lifesaving treatment needed for this form of the disease. Médecins Sans Frontières is working with the Ministry of health of Tajikistan to treat pediatric TB cases and their family contacts -whenever possible on an outpatient basis, with nutritional and psychosocial support to help them adhere to their difficult regimens. In order to deliver the appropriate treatment the project introduced drug compounding (combining drugs to create a formulation particular to a patient’s needs) to make pediatric formulations of MDR-TB drugs.