Over the last year, Partners In Health in Russia has drawn on its experience treating multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Tomsk Oblast to provide programmatic and clinical assistance to two regional MDR-TB programs in Novosibirsk Oblast and Altayski Kray. 

PIH was invited to provide this uniquely intensive assistance on behalf of the Russian Health Care Foundation, principal recipients of the national $88.1 million grant from the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

The two territories border Tomsk Oblast where PIH currently oversees the implementation of a smaller Global Fund grant for TB and MDR-TB.  Modeled after the PIH experience in Tomsk Oblast, this intensive assistance prioritizes ensuring sustainability of local TB services, strengthening the capacity of TB providers to adequately manage MDR-TB, establishing regular clinical consultations on patient care and improving collaboration between the prison and civilian sectors.

With the above assistance from Partners In Health, 300 MDR-TB patients of Novosibirsk Oblast and 150 of Altayski Kray had started treatment last year in both civilian and prison TB Services. As proper management of MDR-TB requires sustainable institutional commitment, PIH has worked to establish regional political commitment and urge the passage of legislative amendments which strengthen TB and MDR-TB control, created interdepartmental coordination mechanisms, and increased government financing of TB and essential social support activities for patients.

In addition, PIH conducted four training workshops on clinical and program management of MDR-TB, reaching over 90% of regional TB providers. The Russian Health Care Foundation has requested that PIH expand this intensive assistance to two new provinces in 2009– Saratovsky Oblast and the Republic of Mari El.

[posted April 2009]