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SA’s drug-resistant TB burden

Despite an increase in diagnosis times, SA is facing a growing drug-resistant tuberculosis burden as nationally there remains a large gap between the number of patients diagnosed with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and those who start treatment. [s]IPS[/s] reports that between 2007 and 2012, recorded cases of MDR-TB, which is resistant to at least two of the primary drugs used to combat standard TB, almost doubled.

The report says SA has improved its ability to test for drug-resistant TB by introducing [b]GeneXpert[/b], a rapid testing machine that can diagnose TB in sputum samples in under two hours. But according to government figures, just 42% of patients diagnosed with MDR-TB began treatment. The success rate for those on treatment is about 40%. Most of SA’s provinces have increased their treatment capacity for MDR-TB patients after the government introduced a 2011 framework for decentralising MDR-TB care. But provision of treatment at primary healthcare level needs to increase, [b]Dr Norbert Ndjeke, director of the Department of Health's DR-TB, TB and HIV division[/b], said.

[link url=http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/03/south-africa-battles-drug-resistant-tb]Full IPS report[/link]

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