Armenia has one of the highest rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the world.
To respond to the TB epidemic in Armenia and the high number of people suffering from the drug-resistant form of the disease, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) started supporting the Armenian National Tuberculosis Control Centre (NTCC) in 2005. A first project was set up in Yerevan to treat patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), and today MSF works in seven marzes (regions) of the country, as well as in prisons. By the end of December, 226 DR-TB patients were under treatment in MSF-supported facilities. In November, MSF also supported the NTCC to re-establish thoracic surgery at the Central hospital for TB patients.
The treatments currently available for patients with DR-TB are largely unsatisfactory, because of their length, toxicity, complexity and poor effectiveness. Outcomes are poor for people suffering from MDR-TB and particularly for those suffering from extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). Since 2013, MSF has been helping the Armenian health ministry to introduce two new TB drugs, bedaquiline and delamanid, and between April 2013 and December 2015, 81 MDR-TB and XDR-TB patients were started on these.
As NTCC increases its capacity, MSF is shifting its focus away from support for ‘conventional’ MDR-TB treatments and towards the management of MDR-TB and XDR-TB patients receiving new TB drugs. This is part of the UNITAID-funded endTB partnership.
No. staff in 2015: 80 | Expenditure: €2.4 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1988 | msf.org/armenia