Medical volunteers research new approaches to cure tuberculosis

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Medical volunteers research new approaches to cure tuberculosis

Every day, nearly 5,000 people die from tuberculosis. For some people, the normal course of treatment with antibiotics doesn’t work. There is a strain of TB that’s resistant to the drugs used to treat it. There may be some hope.

CCTV America’s Dan Collyns reports from Peru.

Medical volunteers research new approaches to cure tuberculosis

Medical volunteers research new approaches to cure tuberculosis

Every day, nearly 5,000 people die from tuberculosis. For some people, the normal course of treatment with antibiotics doesn’t work. There is a strain of TB that’s resistant to the drugs used to treat it. There may be some hope. CCTV America’s Dan Collyns reports from Peru.
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Most children hate swallowing medicine and brother and sister Aaron and Jasmin Bueno are no exception. But their older brother has tuberculosis.

After Aaron and Jasmin complete a six-month course of preventive drugs, it will reduce their chances of contracting the disease. It is local volunteer Delia Lunasco’s job to make sure they stick to the treatment. Delia said she knows the community and likes helping her neighbors.

She’s part of a new approach to tackling tuberculosis and bringing the care to the patients in deprived neighborhoods like Carabayllo which a TB hotspot.

Doctors said no one should die from tuberculosis in the 21st century but making that a reality in Lima is still a challenge. Hundreds of thousands of people still live in poor and overcrowded conditions and the treatment for TB is long and expensive.

The good news is Peru has the highest global recovery rate for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis at 83 percent and extensively drug resistant tuberculosis at 60 percent.

The bad news is that it remains the Latin America country with the highest incidence of the disease per capita and overall reduction is slow.

U.S.-based global health group, Partners in Health is aggressively tackling the most resistant strains of the disease through a program called Zero TB. Treating this disease especially the multi-drug resistant type is expensive and arduous. The treatment is a mix of antibiotics and injections that can take up to two years to complete.

A quick and accurate diagnosis is a key to controlling the spread of the disease. So Partners in Health built this state of art TB laboratory in an old shipping container right in the heart of this deprived community.

The only of its kind in Latin America, this lab can make 25 diagnoses a day, a big boost for Peru’s strained healthcare services: Peru is showing that constant moral support on the long road to recovery is making the difference between life and death.

Prevalence of tuberculosis worldwide in 2000 and 2013, by region (per 100,000 population)

This statistic depicts the prevalence of tuberculosis cases worldwide in 2000 and 2013, distributed by WHO region. In 2000, there were some 399 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 inhabitants in Africa.


Mario C. Raviglione discusses TB cases and deaths

For more on TB cases and deaths continue to rise globally, CCTV America’s Mike Walter spoke to Mario C. Raviglione, director of the Global TB Programme at the World Health Organization (WHO).