According to WHO's latest report, Belarus is listed as a multidrug-resistant TB high burden country. We are supporting the Ministry of Health in four TB facilities across Minsk city and region. Minsk is also a site for two clinical studies into shorter, innovative TB regimens which use newer TB drugs, TB PRACTECAL and endTB.
In Orsha, teams also treat inmates of a prison with DR-TB and co-infections such as hepatitis C, for which they receive direct-acting antiviral drugs.
Our activities in 2020 in Belarus
Data and information from the International Activity Report 2020.
Using a person-centred approach, MSF’s multidisciplinary teams provide treatment as well as psychosocial support to patients with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). This includes helping those who use alcohol or other substances to manage their dependency, so that they can successfully complete their treatment. Our teams also support the treatment of inmates who have DR-TB and co-infections, such as hepatitis C and/or HIV, in the TB hospital in the penal colony in Orsha in the east of the country and patients in a forced hospitalisation centre in Volkovichi, near Minsk.
Minsk is one of the five sites of the MSF-sponsored TB PRACTECAL clinical trial that is exploring innovative treatment regimens for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The regimens are much shorter – six months instead of the current 18 – and do not require injectable drugs. The trial continued throughout 2020 and entered its second stage late in the year.
Following presidential elections in Belarus in August, frequent civil society demonstrations in Minsk and other cities have faced violent responses. MSF began preparations to support the Ministry of Health to offer psychosocial support to people in need and provide technical expertise to strengthen psychosocial referrals within the public health system.
Voices from the field
This experience has changed our outlook on life.Polina, a patient taking part in MSF's TB trial