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Through DR-TB patients’ eyes: The latest treatment for drug-resistant TB offers huge hope

21 October 2016

Nonyanyiso Baloi, a 32-year-old mother of three lives with her children and aunt in Khayelitsha, Western Cape, South Africa. After reacting very badly to first-line TB treatment, doctors desperately searched for alternative treatment options, before discovering her full diagnosis of pre-XDR-TB, which required a whole new treatment regimen. Read her story here.

Nanyanyiso Baloi holds her treatment regimen for pre-XDR-TB, which includes delamanid and bedaquiline. Khayelitsha, Western Cape. Photo: Sydelle WIllow Smith

Nanyanyiso Baloi takes her treatment regimen for pre-XDR-TB, which includes Delamanid and Bedaquiline, Western Cape. Photo: Sydelle WIllow Smith

 Nonyanyiso plays with her 8 year old daughter Minentle at home Khayelitsha. "I’m doing everything I couldn’t do before.”

Simphiwe Zwide, 43 years, lives in a one-bedroom house with his wife, Nomonde Tyala, and children in Kuyasa, Khayelitsha. Simphiwe was first diagnosed with MDR-TB in 2011. He completed six months of treatment, but when he learned that he had pre-XDR-TB and would need even more treatment, he lost heart and returned to work. In June 2016, he presented back to his Khayelistha clinic as he had fallen ill again. This time test results showed he had XDR-TB. 

Simphiwe holds his medication, he takes up to 26 pills a day to treat XDR-TB. Here he holds his morning selection, which includes delamanid, one of the newest DR-TB drugs, which Simphiwe is taking for the first time today. 

Simphiwe visits his local clinic in Kuyasa, Khayelitsha, every weekday to receive his daily clofazimine injection and collect his treatment. Photo: Sydelle WIllow Smith

"I’m feeling much better. I can’t say I’m 100% but this is only my third month. I know who I am, I’m strong and I want my health back.” Read more of Simphiwe's story here.

Simbongile is a 29-year-old working mother of two who lives with her children and five other family members in Town II, Khayelitsha. After her partner was diagnosed with XDR-TB, she was able to quickly get screened and on treatment close to her home. While her partner has passed away, Simbongile continues her own fight against XDR-TB. 

Simbongile waits for her appointment at the Town 2 Clinic, Kuyasa, Khayelitsha, Western Cape, South Africa. Photo: Sydelle WIllow Smith

Simbongile Xesha during her consultation at the Town 2 Clinic, Kuyasa, Khayelitsha, Western Cape, South Africa. Simbongile’s current DR-TB regimen: bedaquiline, linezolid, clofazimine, terizidone, levofloxacin, pyrazinamide.

Close up of sachets of the drug Delamanid in the Town 2 Clinic, Kuyasa, Khayelitsha, Western Cape in South Africa. Photo: Sydelle WIllow Smith

 “My partner had XDR-TB so I probably caught it from him,” says Simbongile Xesha, a 29-year-old working mother of two who lives with her children and five other family members in Town II, Khayelitsha. Read her story here.

Sinethemba, 16 years, lives with her grandmother, Vuyisiwa Madubela, and four other family members in a two-bedroomed home in Zone C29, Khayelitsha, Western Cape, South Africa. Her grandmother’s determination and love, combined with receiving a six-month trial of one the newest DR-TB drugs on the market likely saved her life this year. Read more here

Sinethemba was one of the first patients that we put on delamanid. She shows two additional delamanid tablets she takes at night. Photo: Sydelle WIllow Smith / Médecins sans Frontières

Sinethemba takes her daily regimen for XDR-TB at 10am each day. She also takes two additional delamanid tablets at night. Photo: Sydelle WIllow Smith / Médecins sans Frontières

"I just said to myself that this is it, I’m going to die, because many who suffer from XDR-TB die." Sinethemba Kuse extensively-drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) patient. More here

 

"There is hope. I trusted the new medication with my life and it worked." Read more of 16 year old Sinethemba's journey to recovery here.

South African patients share their experiences with of taking delamanid, the newest drug for drug-resistant TB, as part of their often difficult lonely treatment for extensively-drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).

In Khayelitsha, MSF has provided 52 DR-TB patients in Khayelitsha with delamanid since December 2015. Over 7000 people in South Africa could be eligible to receive delamanid, yet to date only a fraction can access it.

The drug’s manufacturer, Japanese Pharmaceutical giant Otsuka has yet to register the drug in South Africa, and has not yet announced how it will make the drug available through a ‘compassionate use’ programme before it is registered.

MSF is calling on Otsuka to urgently apply for registration and ensure sufficient treatment is available to meet demand before registration is complete. Read the full press release here.