South Africa faces a growing epidemic of DR-TB with more than 14,000 people a year diagnosed with the disease, for which treatment outcomes are poor with current standard drug regimens. Generally, up to 20% of DR-TB patients are also resistant to the few available second-line drugs and they are considered to have extensively drug-resistant (XDR-TB), or pre-XDR TB. Today less than half of those diagnosed with DR-TB in South Africa are started on treatment – and those who do start face less than 50% chance of cure.
“To slash death rates and new infections South Africa must take urgent action to end the deadly waiting game for thousands of patients, by scaling up decentralised treatment models and developing more effective new drug regimens. Politicians with another five years in office have time on their side, but with the sub-optimal treatment tools available today, patients certainly do not,” said MSF TB doctor Jennifer Hughes.
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