"My doctors told me, 'This is the only chance'"

Yuri - treated in Belarus for drug-resistant Tuberculosis 

Photograph by Victoria Gendina/MSF
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How can access to treatment change a life?

Wherever possible, MSF chooses to use the most effective medicines, treatment and approaches to care that put people at the centre. That’s because they significantly increase the chance that a person can be cured.

We strive to:

  • accurately diagnose TB, determine what type it is and find out which drugs are effective against it
  • design the right treatment using newer, more effective medicines
  • help people get drugs and tests on time, and provide supportive care for as long as treatment is needed

Yuri was losing hope that he would ever beat tuberculosis.

He had extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB). It’s a form of the disease that can’t be cured with standard medicines, and sometimes not even with the most powerful medicines we use against TB.

But after two gruelling years of treatment, he still wasn’t getting better.

Yuri’s doctors said he had one chance left: a treatment programme offered by MSF in cooperation with Belarus’ government, using the latest TB drugs. He enrolled right away.

“I started to improve immediately,” he said. “The tests, the X-rays – everyone was surprised!” 

Yuri was fortunate. For many others, this kind of testing and treatment isn’t available.

Today, he’s free of TB. And we’re working to bring everyone access to the same level of care.

Three things to know about TB

What MSF staff are saying

Portrait of Dr Jennifer Hughes, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) TB doctor in South Africa. Photograph by Sydelle WIllow Smith

“If I am diagnosed with drug-resistant TB I would have access to bedaquiline, delamanid, linezolid - all these drugs - as easily as I want because I can afford to pay for it. But a person in Khayelitsha wouldn’t have it as easy, and that is unfair.”

Dr Jennifer Hughes, writing from South Africa.

How is it possible...

...that we sent people to the moon almost 50 years ago, yet millions of people with tuberculosis are still treated with old, inadequate medicines?