We are using one of the first new drugs for tuberculosis in over 50 years in Tajikistan

Battered by a five-year civil war at the onset of its independence, Tajikistan has struggled with poverty and instability in the two decades since it became its own state.

Map of MSF's activities in Tajikistan, 2015

The country, home to over seven million people, remains strongly dependent on Russia, both for its economy and to help counter security problems.

Tajikistan is also expanding its ties with China: Beijing has extended credits and has helped to build roads, tunnels and power infrastructure. Chinese firms are investing in oil and gas exploration and in gold mining.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has worked in Tajikistan since 1997, providing care for tuberculosis (TB) patients.

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MSF's work in Tajikistan: 2015

In 2015, MSF started to treat five TB patients with bedaquiline, one of the first new drugs for the disease in 50 years.

In Dushanbe hospital, a team is working with the Ministry of Health to support a comprehensive care programme for young people with TB and their families.

Care is provided on an outpatient basis whenever possible, and the team looks for ways to improve access for people who live a long way from the hospital, for example by covering transport costs.

© Wendy Marijnissen

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Families without fathers >

Terry PorslidMental Health Specialist

Drug compounding

Since 2014, we have been using drug compounding (combining drugs to create a formulation tailored to a patient’s needs) to make formulations suitable for children with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and 16 of them were put on treatment this year. 

Other aspects of the programme include nutritional and psychosocial support to help patients adhere to their often arduous regimens, activities to reduce the stigma of the disease, and systematic tracing of those people the patient has been in contact with.   

Diagnostic tools, such as sputum induction and gastric lavage, are being used for the first time in the country, and the team is hoping to introduce others, including stool sampling and a rapid drug sensitivity test with GeneXpert, in the future. 

The paediatric TB protocol developed by us has been adopted as the national guideline.

In 2015, we also opened a new project in Kulob, southern Tajikistan, treating paediatric HIV and tuberculosis (TB). Medical activities will start in the spring of 2016.

find out more in our international activity report

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