Test Me, Treat Me - Demanding Change for DR-TB Treatment

Phumeza Tisile, one of only a few South Africans who beat XDR-TB each year, will be going to the World Health Assembly to demand urgent change in the diagnosis and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), change which will save lives. 
 
Drug-resistant TB is on the rise in South Africa, with 15 000 cases diagnosed last year, double the number of cases recorded only four years before. Khayelitsha, where an Doctors Without Borders (MSF) project is located, has one of the highest burdens of TB in the world.
 
The research and development of new, more effective diagnostic tools and drugs for TB have been severely lacking for decades. The test is only accurate half of the time, even less so for patients who also have HIV. This means that too many patients start treatment late, if they start it at all.
 
Today, fewer than 20 percent of those with DR-TB receive proper diagnosis and treatment. Today’s treatment is horrific - lengthy, toxic, complex and expensive - and cure rates are only 50 percent. Better diagnostics are rolling out, and new drugs are on the way, but massive political will is needed to seize the opportunity to radically transform DR-TB care.
 
Phumeza and her MSF doctor Jenny Hughes wrote a public declaration - the DR-TB Manifesto - describing today’s unacceptable status quo and asking for the global community to support their call for action. By raising our voices together we hope to make the DR-TB Manifesto demands a reality.
 
Join the call for urgent change by adding your signature to the petition that Phumeza will take to the World Health Assembly. Please sign here: www.msfaccess.org/TBmanifesto/

For more information about Doctors Without Borders (MSF), please visit www.msf.org.za or engage with MSF on facebook.com/MSFsouthafrica and Twitter/MSF_southafrica

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