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World TB Day: Call to Accelerate Access to DR-TB Drugs

MCN World TB DayIn honor of World TB Day, on March 24th, Migrant Clinicians Network has joined dozens of organizations from across the globe in signing an important letter to global health actors and drug companies “to step up and ensure new and repurposed drug-resistant Tuberculosis (TB) drugs reach people who are otherwise without treatment options.”  The letter requests specific actions, including “establishing a consortium to speed up access and ensuring 500 patients are started on routine regimens which include bedaquiline by July 2015, and 500 patients started on routine regimens which include delamanid by January 2016,” as a spokesperson from Treatment Action Group noted.

Worldwide, 4,000 people die each day of TB. Here in the US, MCN is combating TB within the migrant population through our bridge case management system, Health Network. Recent research has demonstrated that Health Network is “highly cost effective” in treating patients with tuberculosis.  The program, which facilitates medical records transfer and provides comprehensive case management and follow-up for mobile patients, has a very high treatment completion rate of 83.6%.  

We’re very proud of our work at Health Network, but we know that more needs to be done.  We urge our partner organizations to join us in calling for accelerating access to DR-TB drugs, in honor of the 1.5 million people who will die of TB this year.