DMITRY Story: “I have nowhere to go.”
We are working with the Ministry of Health in Belarus to improve adherence to treatment for patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) and a dependence on substances such as alcohol.

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 2021 in Belarus

Data and information from the International Activity Report 2021

MSF in Belarus in 2021 In Belarus, MSF supports the national tuberculosis (TB) programme and hepatitis C treatment in prisons. In 2021, we also started assisting people on the move stranded between Belarus and the EU.
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We continued to support six TB facilities in Belarus: three in the capital, Minsk, and three across the regions. We successfully advocated a person-centred approach to care and delivered a series of training sessions on this model of treatment.

Minsk is one of the seven sites of the TB PRACTECAL clinical trial that is aimed at identifying new treatment regimens for patients with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) that are shorter and more effective and tolerable. In 2021, the phase II/III TB PRACTECAL trial from Uzbekistan, Belarus and South Africa found that the new, shorter treatment regimen was very effective: 89 per cent of patients in the group with the new drug regimens were cured, compared to 52 per cent of patients on standard treatment regimens. Furthermore, the trial showed that patients experienced significantly fewer side effects from the newer drugs.

In 2021, we also started a new programme to treat people with hepatitis C in the penitentiary system, and admitted the first patients in December.

Since mid-2021, thousands of people have been trying to reach the EU via Belarus. While Belarus has eased the migration flows, the response from the EU countries’ authorities has been to declare states of emergency, mobilise military units and build fences at borders to create barriers for migrants. Stuck between opposing sides, people were effectively trapped along the border by Polish, Lithuanian and Belarusian border guards, which put their lives at risk.

Our teams offered medical and humanitarian assistance, including referrals and translation support, to people on the move dispersed in Belarus, while continuing to seek access to those stranded in the restricted border areas between Belarus and EU countries.

 

In 2021
Andrey and Polina TB Patients
This experience has changed our outlook on life. Polina, a patient taking part in MSF's TB trial

Tackling TB together

 
Forest in Podlaskie region
Refugees, IDPs and people on the move

MSF leaves Polish border after being blocked from assisting people

Press Release 6 Jan 2022
 
Iraqi father holding child at Polish border
Belarus

8 things to know about the EU/Belarus border crisis

Project Update 31 Dec 2021
 
DMITRY Story: “I have nowhere to go.”
Belarus

TB patients improve treatment adherence with psychological and social support

Project Update 10 Oct 2019
 
‘My doctors told me – this is the only chance’ - First Patient Finishes Treatment at MSF's TB Project in Belarus
Belarus

“My doctors told me it was my only chance”

Voices from the Field 15 Sep 2017