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Armenia

Armenia is a landlocked country that became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. It has one of the highest rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the world. Around 10 percent of Armenia’s MDR-TB patients have the extensively drug-resistant (XDR) form of the disease.

Tuberculosis continues to be a major public health concern in Armenia. MSF has supported the Armenian authorities in providing treatment to DR-TB patients since 2005 and has progressively expanded its activities.

Seasonal economic migration and the social stigma surrounding the disease further complicate the task of ensuring regular and effective treatment for patients. 

The primary challenge when treating MDR-TB patients is the length and toxicity of the treatment itself: it involves taking up to 20 tablets every day for two years and includes months of painful daily injections. To help patients cope with the constraints of the treatment, MSF has introduced a system enabling them to take some medications at home, with a medical staff member remotely connected by video. 

Armenia was one of the first countries in the world to authorise the use of two new TB drugs, bedaquiline and delamanid, which promise to be less toxic and more effective. 

MSF supports the supply of bedaquiline, as well as the day-to-day care and follow-up of patients taking it.  Since 2016, MSF has also been offering treatment to DR-TB patients co-infected with hepatitis C, using direct-acting antivirals, a new, effective, and less toxic class of drugs for hepatitis C treatment.  

Find out more about Armenia