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Access to diagnostics that can detect drug-resistant tuberculosis

31 Oct 2014

Access to early and accurate diagnosis is really important, well in my case I was really unfortunate because at the time the GENE-EXPERT machine wasn’t available here in South Africa. So, I was late diagnosed that it took doctors years to figure out that I had XDR-TB from the start. The machines that can detect DR-TB for hours should be available world-wide so that everyone might have a chance of cure, in my case it took 3 weeks to get the TB results, by then I was so weak that I had to be hospitalized.

Being late diagnosed means I took the wrong medication for a very long time, that in fact I experienced the side effect of the Kanamycin injection used for MDR-TB, it got me deaf. The current treatment for DR-TB is so bad that some also experience hallucinations, psychosis, blurred vision, skin rush the list goes on. It makes one sick every day because you are bound to vomit. Quality treatment once diagnosed is really important too, the current one is toxic and you take about 20 tablets per day with injection every day for 6 months.

So now with the current treatment doctors play around with drugs and see which one really work best, well most of the drugs I took I got resistant to them. Well luckily enough MSF came up with a drug called LINEZOLID. I did not take that drug alone, it I was a combination with the other drugs that at the end it eventually worked and I was cured from XDR-TB (extensively-resistant tuberculosis).

"Being late diagnosed means I took the wrong medication for a very long time, that in fact I experienced the side effect of the Kanamycin injection used for MDR-TB, it got me deaf"

So now with the current treatment doctors play around with drugs and see which one really work best, well most of the drugs I took I got resistant to them. Well luckily enough MSF came up with a drug called LINEZOLID. I did not take that drug alone, it I was a combination with the other drugs that at the end it eventually worked and I was cured from XDR-TB (extensively-resistant tuberculosis). Well the drug is not easily available because it is too expensive, here in SA it is under patent laws. So those who need the drug the most can’t have access to it, that means lives are being lost and DR-TB is spreading which now makes it a, PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY.

So to governments it must not be PROFITS BEFORE PATIENTS like they do with the Patent Laws, these must be fixed so that everyone can have access to life saving drugs easily. To the drug manufactures how about ya’ll come up with 2 or 3 drugs to treat DR-TB and those drugs must be taken in less than 2 years with less or no side effects at all. To World health organization, how about you give the drug manufactures something to work with, so that they get inspired. Perhaps more FUNDING so that research can be done.  Those being done all at once simply means DR-TB will no longer be a PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY.