- Such is the case of a resident from Mbeya, Yusufu Masoko, 39, who has MDR-TB of the bone. “Though my disease is curable, it is very irritating to take medicines every day for so many months,” he says.
- Masoko has been living with HIV/AIDS for more than two years but developed MDR-TB just last year.
The most common complain of the patients suffering from multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is the time it takes to finish the medication dosage [the amount of medicine/drug that should be taken during a said period of time].
Such is the case of a resident from Mbeya, Yusufu Masoko, 39, who has MDR-TB of the bone. “Though my disease is curable, it is very irritating to take medicines every day for so many months,” he says.
Masoko has been living with HIV/AIDS for more than two years but developed MDR-TB just last year.
According to him, one can only help himself feel better sooner and help the body fight off the disease by making sure one is getting the right nutrition and use most of the time resting.
However, in Masoko’s case it is quite difficult for him to have a decent meal and rest since he is the bread winner of the family looking into the consideration that his mother is over 70 years of age.
Victims affected with MDR-TB, such as Masoko are pleading to the government and medical experts to shorten MDR-TB dose, because the medicine requires them to eat more and demands total rest.
What’s a drug resistant TB?
MDR-TB and TB are a form of infection cause by bacteria, however, according to World Health Organisation, drug-resistance TB arises in areas with poor TB control programmes.
MDR-TB basically resists to the two most powerful anti-TB drugs. A TB patient may need only to take tablets to get cured in six months while it takes two years for an MDR-TB patient to be cured and the treatment includes taking tablets and jabs.
Emmay Kanda, 41, affected with MDRTB also told Your Health that the government and medicals experts should at least work together to see how to shorten MDR-TB dose drugs especially that it requires good meal.
Ms Kanda, a teacher at Ruanda Nzovwe Primary School and a mother of two said, “The dose is too long such that sometimes patients get discouraged or think of quitting the medication.”
Ms Kanda lost her husband early last year, it was the same year she was diagnosed with MDR-TB.
Though she knew a lot about TB symptoms, it was difficult for her to suspect that she had MDR-TB because within the same year she went through a lot of challenges.
“2016 was a tragedy year for me because I lost my husband, young sister and my mother. I began losing a lot of weight, but I attributed that to the depressed year that I was going through, losing my beloved ones. I did not experience any TB signs,” she says.
It was until when Ms Kanda was diagnosed with TB, that’s when she realised that losing weight was due to MDR-TB. “I thank God I am doing better now but the medication dosage to treat my disease is too long. Experts should consider shortening these dosages,” Ms Kanda suggests.
The Director Observed Therapy (DOT) at Ruanda Nzovwe Hospital, Ms Rogate Kessy told Your Health that since she started administering the MDR-TB treatment to patients, only one of them had stopped using drugs.
When diagnosing MDR-TB or TB, they normally counsel patients before presenting test results to them so that they do not abandon taking drugs.
“Though some patients complain about long dose, I only experienced one patient who totally refused to continue with the medication. Up to now I have been looking for him, unfortunately he is unreachable via phone and secondly, he has shifted from the place he used to previously stay at,” she said.
According to her, for those who stop coming for the medicine, they make a follow-up and advise them to resume the medicine.
Issa Sabi, a Paediatrics and Child Health Specialist at the National Institute Medical Research (NIMR), explained that currently they are doing underground research to see how to shorten MDR-TB drug dose.
According to him, depending on type of the TB, it takes six months to two years for patient to complete TB dose therefore it takes a long way for patients to finish the dose.
“As researchers, we are currently carrying out some tests to see if the TB dosage can be reduced to four months,” he said..
World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends speeding up detection and improve treatment outcomes for MDR-TB through use of a novel rapid diagnostic test and a shorter, cheaper treatment regimen.
Presently, TB is the second greatest contributor among infectious diseases to adult mortality causing approximately 1.7 million deaths a year worldwide. Given the increasing trend toward globalisation, all countries are potential targets for outbreaks of MDR-TB.