Treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in a remote, conflict-affected area of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
AffiliationMédecins Sans Frontières, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Medecins
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AbstractThe Democratic Republic of Congo is a high-burden country for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Médecins Sans Frontières has supported the Ministry of Health in the conflict-affected region of Shabunda since 1997. In 2006, three patients were diagnosed with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) and had no options for further treatment. An innovative model was developed to treat these patients despite the remote setting. Key innovations were the devolving of responsibility for treatment to non-TB clinicians remotely supported by a TB specialist, use of simplified monitoring protocols, and a strong focus on addressing stigma to support adherence. Treatment was successfully completed after a median of 24 months. This pilot programme demonstrates that successful treatment for DR-TB is possible on a small scale in remote settings.