The ministry of health is set to commission a new survey for multi-drug resistance tuberculosis, according to officials.
Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is that type of tuberculosis that is resistant to at least isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin (RMP), the two most powerful anti-TB drugs.
The last survey was conducted in 2005 and since then, Rwanda has been working with the Global Fund, among other partners, to combat tuberculosis, according to an official from the Ministry of Health.
Dr Michel Gasana, the director of Tuberculosis Programme in the Ministry of Health, yesterday told this paper that the new survey will reveal the effectiveness of the different interventions that have been carried out since 2005.
He said following an alarming figure highlighted in the 2005 survey, and the subsequent interventions that were put in place, the cases received annually have reduced from about 90 down to 50 cases every year.
Gasana said since then over 500 people have been treated.
The survey is expected to start before the end of this year, according to the official, and will help establish what the trend and situation of MDR TB has been since then.
The survey is expected to last six to seven months.
“Although we know that a lot of progress has been made and cases of MDR TB reduced, we want it to be evidence-based which also explains why we are carrying out a countrywide survey,” Gasana said.
Among the interventions that were carried out since the 2005 survey include provision of free medical services, including drugs, to MDR TB patients.
New laboratory techniques are also being used such as molecular testing using Genexpert machines, which produce results in just a span of two hours, according to Gasana.
Currently, there are three centres in the country for patients with MDR TB and these are; Kibungo, Kibagabaga and Kabutare centres.
Gasana said MDR TB patients receive quality care until they are fully recovered which has largely contributed to the reduction in cases.
“We give them free medication, free hospitalisation, nutritional support and transport costs to and from hospital. We have ambulances strictly for TB Patients and we also follow up every patient until they complete their two year treatment,” Gasana added.
At least Rwf3 million is spent on each MDR TB patient for the two years they are on medication.
The funds allotment per patient caters for medication, continuous tests, nutritional support and follow-up medical services.
At least 88.3 per cent of patients who suffer from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in the country are successfully treated. However, health officials usually advise that patients should seek medical attention early enough before the disease reaches a critical stage.