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03/19/2013

Manifesto: demanding better treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis

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Source: Médecins Sans Frontières

With World TB Day just around the corner, Médecins Sans Frontières is releasing a manifesto demanding better treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis -- which, as the World Health Organization and Global Fund warned yesterday, is spreading around the globe and requires an annual investment of $1.6 billion if the infectious disease is to be contained.

MSF has been a vocal advocate for the scaling up of improved treatments for drug-resistant tuberculosis, which currently affects an estimated 630,000 people worldwide, according to WHO estimates.

Dr. Erkin Chinasylova, an MSF doctor in Swaziland, has this to say in a press release:

 “We have been waiting for half a century for new drugs that are effective against tuberculosis. Must we wait another fifty years to seize this historic opportunity to improve and roll out treatment for drug-resistant TB? Getting better treatment is beyond urgent, but we are not seeing anything like the level of prioritisation required to make this a reality.”

At the top of this post is an infographic made by MSF, illustrating the staggering amount of pills that drug-resistant TB patients currently have to take to treat their illness. I'm a big fan of MSF's infographics, which are both informative and visually arresting, so I've posted a few more here that really hammer the point home:

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Jennifer Yang is the Toronto Star’s global health reporter. She previously worked as a general assignment reporter and won a NNA in 2011 for her explanatory piece on the Chilean mining disaster. Follow her on Twitter: @jyangstar

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