Médecins Sans Frontières: Death toll from drug-resistant tuberculosis must be slashed within a year

TB patient Phumeza with MSF’s Dr Jenny Hughes.

GENEVA – May 19, 2014 – On the eve of the World Health Assembly adopting an ambitious 20-year global plan to address tuberculosis (TB) and drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), MSF urges governments to focus intensely on improving DR-TB testing and care over the next 12 months. MSF is delivering to delegates a “Test Me, Treat Me” DR-TB Manifesto, a call for action written by DR-TB patients and caregivers to improve the dismal prognosis that DR-TB patients face today.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 17,000 people known to have MDR-TB were not put on treatment in 2012, leaving these patients to suffer, remain infectious and further lowering an already abysmal survival rate. The number of patients diagnosed with MDR-TB, however, is but a small fraction thought to have the disease; as many as 80% of people estimated to have MDR-TB remain undiagnosed.