For the first time, we measure time in lives saved.

Two new generation medical devices for MDR-TB molecular diagnosis and rapid testing consumables were purchased, this year, by the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation and supplied to the national laboratories in Bucharest and Cluj Napoca. By using them, the National Tuberculosis Control Program experts can now diagnose resistant TB cases in just 3 days.

“The new devices decrease the delay in MDR-TB diagnosis from over 3 months to less than a week, thus breaking the transmission cycle of the disease in the community and preventing premature patient death, while waiting for a diagnosis”, Mrs. Silvia Asandi, MD, General Manager of the RAA declared.

The project is part of a series of interventions for tuberculosis diagnosis, treatment and prevention, carried out by the RAA Foundation, in partnership with the National Tuberculosis Control Program, through a grant received from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is a disease which, undiagnosed on time and untreated properly, can lead to patient’s death. The MDR-TB patients can pass on drug resistant tuberculosis which is incurable with regular medication, requires a longer hospitalization period and a treatment that is longer (24 months), harder to  cope with and more expensive.

“We really need to upgrade the diagnosis services, we need uninterrupted, complete and quality medication, monitoring and surveillance country-wide, social services and psychological support for the patients”, declared Mrs. Gilda Popescu, MD, Technic Coordinator for the National Tuberculosis Control Program, the “Marius Nasta” Institute.

We at the RAA Foundation can only promise that, together with National Tuberculosis Control Program experts, will do our best to provide rapid diagnostic and treatment for all the patients. 2013 is only the beginning in Romania’s efforts to align to international MDR-TB management and prevention standards.

Ms. Mihaela Stefan, MD, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation: “For the first time, we measure time in lives saved. A few day ago a patient told me: for 4 months I took pills that affected my liver and later I was told that I had been resistant to this medication. At least from now on maybe more people will be saved.”

The World Health Organization shows that MDR-TB is currently under-diagnosed in Romania: only 400 cases identified in 2012, compared to 1000 that WHO estimate to be the real number of cases that should be identified yearly. Due to the lack of modern equipment, MDR-TB diagnosis takes more than 3 months. This is a time frame when doctors cannot recommend adequate medication and the patient can pass drug resistant tuberculosis to their family and community.

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