Burma To Launch Two-Year MDR-TB Treatment Program
Burma's National Tuberculosis Program (NTP), the World Health Organization and the Dutch branch of Doctors Without Borders recently announced plans to launch a two-year pilot program next month to treat people who have been diagnosed with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, the Irrawaddy reports.
The program, which will accept 100 people with MDR-TB and treat them for 24 months, will initially be offered to residents in selected townships in Rangoon and Mandalay. The program will provide no-cost meals, accommodation and transportation. The drugs are expected to cost about $5,000 per participant for the program's entirety, the Irrawaddy reports.
According to one health worker who is involved with the pilot program, participants will be selected based on their proximity to the hospitals where treatment will occur so that they are not likely to miss appointments. Each year, approximately 4.2% of the 800,000 to 900,000 new cases of TB in Burma are MDR-TB, according to a 2007 NTP survey.
"The number of MDR-TB patients we will treat in this pilot program is comparatively small in a country where the" rate of MDR-TB is quite high, according to one official who added, "hopefully we will be able to treat more and more people in the near future based on the experience" from the pilot program (Maung, Irrawaddy, 4/22).
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