Belarus will switch to WHO’s updated treatment guidelines for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), Vyacheslav Grankov, Communicable Diseases Programme Coordinator of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Belarus, told.
The World Health Organization has recently updated its treatment guidelines for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Now all MDR-TB patients (not only those with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, XDR-TB) should get new medicines in line with the WHO’s new recommendations,
Vyacheslav Grankov said.
Naturally, this will require a greater number of medicines, therefore, the cost of treatment will increase, the WHO representative noted. The primary consideration behind the new TB treatment guidelines was the efficiency of treatment. The updated regimen is more efficient and less toxic. This new approach is expected to become an important milestone in fighting with tuberculosis.
At present, the Belarusian Healthcare Ministry in collaboration with the national anti-tuberculosis service is calculating the cost of such medicines. There are plans to provide all MDR-TB patients in Belarus with the new drugs. Apart from that, the Global Fund discussed a possibility to provide additional funds (alongside the grant of over $15 million) to Belarus’ anti-tuberculosis service in order to help the country switch to the WHO’s new treatment guidelines.
Vyacheslav Grankov spoke about the WHO’s earlier strategies that proved efficient. He also mentioned the development of a new method of molecular diagnosis that can deliver results within two hours. It can detect whether a patient has TB and whether this TB is drug resistant or not. Such methods are broadly used in Belarus.
The Belarusian Healthcare Ministry has received an official letter from the WHO suggesting appointing the Educational Center of the National Research Center for Pulmonology and Phthisiology as a WHO partner in introducing new medicines and regimens for treating MDR-TB and XDR-TB.
This is the highest appraisal of the work of our anti-tuberculosis service. This means that the WHO entrusts the national research center with running courses on new medicines and treatment protocols for Belarusian and foreign specialists. On the one hand, this serves to emphasize the extensive experience of the service, on the other hand – substantial achievements in this field,
In the WHO European Region alone, about 30 new TB cases are registered every hour. In 2000-2017, 54 million deaths were prevented due to diagnostics and treatment. The annual decline in global TB incidence rate is 2%. In Europe the figure stands at 5%. The decline in TB incidence rate in Belarus has averaged 11.9% over the past five years. At the same time, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis remains a serious concern. A significant number of new TB cases in Belarus (37%) are being diagnosed as MDR.