Since the World Health Organization (WHO) made new recommendations to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), Kyrgyzstan has fully embraced them and nothing but success has followed.
New regimens and drugs
The recommendations approved a shorter course of treatment of only nine to 12 months instead of the usual 20-24 months for patients with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). Two new drugs, Bedaquiline and Delamanid, were also approved as part of individualized treatment regimens for patients with extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). These new drugs and treatments are cheaper, take less time, and have fewer side effects than the previously used standard treatment.
Situation in Kyrgyzstan
The shorter regimens and new drugs have come at a crucial time for Kyrgyzstan. It is estimated that nearly 1,400 Kyrgyzstani fall ill with MDR-TB each year, making it one of 30 countries with the highest levels of MDR-TB in the world. Personalized treatment provides every patient an individualized path towards recovery, leading to improved adherence and successful results.
By May 2017, 62 patients were enrolled in the program, including seven teenagers and three children. Nine months later, all three children—Illias (4), Sumaya (2) and Maxime (2)—have been declared cured. Their successful treatment brings the total number of those enrolled and cured to eight as of November 2017.
Nearly 300 patients were enrolled and begun the new treatments for MDR-TB and XDR-TB in 2017 alone.
Encouraged by the numbers and the need to accelerate progress to meet WHO targets, Kyrgyzstan plans to expand the program. The new drugs and shorter regimens expanded nationwide beginning in spring 2018, offering treatment in half the time and half the price.
Kyrgyzstan is part of Challenge TB, a USAID funded and KNCV led and managed project.
Read the stories Illias, Sumaya and Maxime and their journeys from diagnosis to recovery:
- Illias and Sumaya: Baby steps and big victories fighting Drug-resistant TB in Kyrgyzstan
- Maxime: Curing TB in Record Time