Treatment revolution for patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis

The experiences patients in Papua New Guinea – where 3.4 per cent of all new cases and 26 per cent of all previously treated cases of tuberculosis are multiresistant – shows that new treatment regimes are needed.

Dr. Rendi Moke, tuberculosis specialist at Port Moresby's general hospital in the capital, recently introduced a new, shorter treatment for patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

"The previous treatment was about 24 months or longer, we lost patients to follow up and struggled to trace and bring them back to make sure they finished their course," he said.

Patients must stay in a special isolation area and be isolated from their community, and although this program is shorter than standard treatment, not all patients will stick to it, Dr. Moke said.

"You can not treat a TB patient for half," he said.

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