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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lives in the balance: The urgent need for HIV and TB treatment in Myanmar

From Médecins Sans Frontières, excerpt :

" MSF calls for urgent action to save lives in Myanmar

In a report released today Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the largest provider of HIV treatment in Myanmar (1), highlights the critical need for increased HIV and Tuberculosis (TB), including multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), treatment in the country.

According to the report, 85,000 people in urgent need of lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in Myanmar are today unable to access it. Of an estimated 9,300 people newly infected with MDR-TB each year, so far just over 300 have been receiving treatment.

Lives in the Balance shows the devastating effect that the cancellation of an entire round of funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, will have on the struggle to provide HIV and TB treatment in Myanmar. The cancellation of Round 11 means that there will be no foreseen funding to expand treatment for HIV or TB and its drug-resistant forms until 2014.

“Yet again, donors have turned their backs on people living with HIV and TB in Myanmar” said Peter Paul de Groote, Head of Mission, MSF Myanmar. “Everyday we at MSF are confronted with the tragic consequences of these decisions: desperately sick people and unnecessary deaths.”

Between 15,000 and 20,000 people living with HIV die every year in Myanmar because of lack of access to lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy (ART). TB prevalence in Myanmar is more than three times the global average and Myanmar is among the 27 countries with the highest MDR-TB rates in the world. MDR-TB has the same airborne transmission as non-resistant TB, but it is far more complex and lengthy to treat (2). As with non-resistant TB, perfectly healthy people can easily be infected with MDR-TB."

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