Resistance to anti-tuberculosis (TB) medicines is a major public health threat in most countries of the former Soviet Union. As no representative and quality-assured information on the magnitude of this problem existed in Belarus, a survey was conducted in the city of Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Between November 2009 and December 2010, 156 consecutively diagnosed new and 68 previously treated culture-positive TB patients residing in Minsk were enrolled in the survey.

The study has revealed extremely high levels of drug-resistant TB in the city of Minsk.

Multidrug-resistant (MDR)-TB was found in 35.3% (95% CI 27.7–42.8) of new patients and 76.5% (95% CI 66.1–86.8) of those previously treated. Overall, nearly one in two patients enrolled had MDR-TB. Extensively drug-resistant TB was reported in 15 of the 107 MDR-TB patients (14.0%, 95% CI 7.3–20.7). Patients <35 yrs of age have shown a two times higher odds ratio of multidrug-resistant TB than those aged >35 yrs.

The findings of this survey in Minsk city are alarming and represent the highest proportions of MDR-TB ever recorded in the world. This study greatly contributes to the understanding of the burden of drug-resistant TB in urban areas of Belarus.

The article can be read here:

Belarus was a recipient of several Global Fund grants for Tuberculosis component. From 2011, Belarus is implementing the project “Introducing the Stop TB Strategy in Belarus with a particular focus on taking measures to combat multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)” funded by the Global Fund. The main goal of the project, implemented by UNDP Belarus, is to reduce prevalence of tuberculosis in Belarus by means of scaling up measures to combat MDR-TB as well as reduce TB incidence rate and associated mortality rates.