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Georgia: fighting ‘the dragon with nine heads’

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TB doctor Irma Davitadze at work at the Regional Center of Infectious Pathology, AIDS and Tuberculosis in Batumi, a beach resort town on the Black Sea. MSF has worked here since 2014 (Image: MSF).

On the outskirts of Batumi, a beach town on the Black Sea popular with Georgians, Russians, Turks and Israelis, Teimuraz Ajiba sits down to pose for a portrait. We are outside the city’s worn-down tuberculosis (TB) hospital. Ajiba has a wide smile and a strong, wiry frame. He says he feels better, despite his treatment being paused while his liver recovers from the toxic drugs - and despite TB being just one of his problems. He also suffers from hepatitis B, hepatitis C, skin cancer and HIV.

To complicate matters, his TB is ‘drug-resistant’: for Ajiba, the standard antibiotics no longer work. Multidrug-resistant TB or ‘MDR-TB’, as it is known, requires up to two years of pills and injections. This treatment is much less effective, using so-called ‘second line’ drugs with often harsh side effects - such as deafness, psychosis, nausea and, in his case, liver toxicity that aggravates his hepatitis. 

Read more on the MSF website

 
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Lesotho: First Patients Enrolled in Revolutionary Tuberculosis Project

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Originally published on Partners In Health's website.

Dr. KJ Seung is something of a tuberculosis maverick.

He has worked at Partners In Health since 2001, when—fresh out of residency in internal medicine—he went to Peru to battle TB, which was devastating poor families living in shantytowns near Lima. He made sure patients got proper care despite out-of-touch policies that considered drug-resistant TB patients too difficult to treat.

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First Patients Start EndTB Program in Peru

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Originally published on Partners In Health's website.

Posted on June 16, 2016

Carmen Contreras has seen tuberculosis patients at their worst. They have endured daily injections and swallowed fistfuls of pills for years. As reward for their diligence, some have lost their hearing and their minds as side effects of the toxic medication. One 19-year-old patient she knew, depressed and bone-tired from his years-long struggle, attempted suicide.