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A breath of fresh air: New treatment regimens giving hope to XDR TB patients in Chechnya

07 December 2015

Republican TB Dispensary in Grozny, Chechnya, Russian Federation. It is the central medical facility for TB diagnosis and treatment in the republic.

MSF doctors Animesh Sinha and Milana Khusainova in the corridor of the XDR TB department at the Republican TB Dispensary in Grozny, Chechnya

Elena, 35, from Grozny city, is an XDR TB patient in the Republican TB Dispensary. She was first diagnosed with tuberculosis back in 2001. 

Movsar, from Novye Atagi, is an XDR TB patient in the republican TB dispensary. In 2010 he was first diagnosed with TB, in 2011 with MDR TB and in July 2014 with XDR TB.

Malika, 48, a journalist from Grozny, was first diagnosed with TB in 1994. In 2009 she had a relapse. In 2013 she was hospitalised again.

Jayna, 28, a mother of 3, is an XDR TB patient in the Republican TB Dispensary. She was first diagnosed with TB in 2008 and had several relapses since. 

Elsi, 62, a driver from Gekhi, Urus-Martan district of Chechnya, is a father of 4. In 2003 he was diagnosed with diabetes, and in 2013 with MDR TB. 

Ilyas, 59 is a pensioner from Zavodskoy district of Grozny and an XDR TB patient on ambulatory treatment. 

Ilyas, 59, a pensioner from Zavodskoy district of Grozny and an XDR TB patient on ambulatory treatment. He’s been following his treatment course for almost two years and is due to complete it in October 2015. 

Ruslan, 43, a welder from Mesker-Yurt, Shali district, Chechnya. In 2013 he was diagnosed with TB in prison.

Sultan, 22, from Serzhen-Yurt, Shali district, Chechnya, is on ambulatory treatment for XDR TB.

Zargan, 51, , from Yalkhoy-Mokhk, Kurchaloy district of Chechnya, is an XDR TB patient on ambulatory treatment. She lives in her home village in a mountainous district with her brother’s family. 

She first contracted TB 20 years ago during the war, but as hospital treatment was unavailable then she took treatment at home, but didn’t get cured. 

Sapikhat, 53, from Kenkhi, Sharoy district of Chechnya, is an XDR TB patient on ambulatory treatment. She lives with her husband, a teacher, and 3 children.

MSF team on the way to visit an outpatient with XDR TB in a remote village of Kenkhi in mountainous Sharoy district on the border with neighbouring Dagestan. It’s 3 hours’ drive on a bumpy road from the capital – Grozny.

MSF has been running a joint TB diagnosis and treatment programme together with the Chechen Ministry of Health since 2004. MSF’s activities are focused on patients with difficult-to-treat extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) and co-morbidity diabetes and tuberculosis. MSF supports diagnostics and treatment providing medicines, laboratory equipment and supplies, as well as adherence counselling and psychosocial support to patients and their families. MSF medics and other specialists work in collaboration with their Ministry of Health counterparts.

photography by Lana Abramova