The Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation announces that the drugs necessary for the uninterrupted, complete and quality treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) Romanian patients have arrived. Around 100 MDR-TB patients in Romania are currently on waiting lists.

“Even though we had a delay of almost 3 months, due to legislative changes in Romania, we are happy that we eventually managed to bring these drugs in the country and thus we’ll be able to save hundreds of drug resistant tuberculosis patients!” said Mrs. Silvia Asandi, MD, General Director of the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation.
The total value of the drugs is over 1 million euro.

The drugs were purchased by the RAA Foundation, through World Health Organization’s Global Drug Facility, with financial support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The quantity covers complete and quality treatment for 300 multidrug-resistant tuberculosis patients in Romania.

The six drugs – Capreomycin, Kanamycin, Prothionamide, Cycloserine, Levofloxacin and PAS – were brought to Romania following the approval from the Ministry of Health and the National Drug Agency and will be distributed to patients with supervision from the Marius Nasta Institute and the RAA Foundation, through the TB dispensaries network.

Since 2011, 520 patients have been receiving free of charge quality medication procured by the RAA Foundation through the program supported by the Global Fund, within the project “Scale-up of MDR-TB control through DOTS-Plus implementation” coordinated by the “Marius Nasta” Pneumology Institute.

This summer, through the same program, the RAA Foundation procured two medical devices for rapid MDR-TB diagnostic, one for the “Marius Nasta” Institute and one for the Cluj Napoca laboratory.

For more detail, please contact:
Silvia Asandi, General Manager
Tel: 0726.266.239; e-mail: silvia.asandi@raa.ro
Tuberculosis is currently one of the most serious threats to public health worldwide. Though it has registered a significant decrease of the number of cases in the past 10 years, Romania is still first in the European Union as far as tuberculosis incidence is concerned. Every year, around 1,500 people die and some 20,000 get infected with tuberculosis, most cases being among active population (15-54 years of age).

During the past years, Romania has been facing a new public health challenge, the multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug resistant (XDR-TB). The number of new MDR-TB cases in Romania is estimated by the World Health Organization at around 1,000 each year.
Unlike “regular” tuberculosis, which can be cured completely with accessible and low-cost medication, the MDR-TB and XDR-TB require much more costly and “aggressive” treatment (4-7 drugs, administered on a daily basis, with strong adverse reactions), over a longer period of time (around 24 months), with longer hospital stays (over 100 days) and lower chance of curing.

The resistance to the most important TB drugs turns tuberculosis from a curable disease into a hardly curable or even incurable one.
The main challenges the National TB Control Program has to face now and which can hinder an effective and efficient TB, MDR-TB and XDR-TB control in Romania are related to both general and specific factors.

General factors of influence:
•    Low probability of new vaccines and drugs being developed in the near future;
•    No universal methods to prevent TB. The only effective way to prevent the spread of TB is treatment correctly administered, complete and under direct observation, to all the patients.

Specific factors for Romania:
•    Impossibility to diagnose all the MDR/XDR-TB cases due to the lack of rapid diagnostic testing for TB, MDR-TB and XDR-TB caused by insufficient funding.
•    Impossibility to provide continuously and uninterrupted the TB drugs for all the MDR/XDR-TB cases identified, due to insufficient funding and lack of drugs on the Romanian market.
•    A huge reservoir of infected people who can get sick at any time, even at large time intervals, a phenomenon which cannot be controlled. It is for this that the TB prevention and control interventions must be continuous and consistent, even after decreasing the endemic.
•    Compliance to complete and correct TB medication through directly observed administering of each dose, throughout treatment, in accordance with the World Health Organization’s DOT (directly observed treatment) strategy.

While all the countries are investing significant funds in TB control, the Romanian National TB Control Program shrinks every year, amid the economic crisis. Thus, the budget for 2013 is of only 8 million lei (under 2 million euro), half of the 2011 budget.

The Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation has been working for more than 20 years for the people with HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other conditions at risk of discrimination and social exclusion, developing services and programs in the field of public health, social services, training and research. In 2006, the Romanian Angel Appeal was chosen Principal Recipient of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grant, coordinating the implementation, in Romania, of several projects addressed to improving the life quality of people affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

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