PRETORIA– Patients with Multi-drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in South Africa will now be able to receive life-changing treatment as the Department of Health begins its roll-out of the medication Bedaquiline.

The department has taken a decision to now make Bedaquiline available to all eligible Rifampicin-Resistant Tuberculosis patients, that is, not only the extensively drug resistant TB patients or those with limited treatment options as done previously, said the department’s Director for Drug Resistant-TB, Norbert Ndjeka.

According to Ndjeka, the roll-out of Bedaquiline will replace the old regimen, which makes use of injections to administer MDR-TB treatment. This means that for the first time, an injection-free regimen will be recommended for all patients with Rifampicin Resistant Tuberculosis patients in South Africa,” he said.

“Additionally, patients with MDR-TB will now also receive Bedaquiline as part of a more patient friendly short regimen, which is expected to improve adherence and ensure success.”

The introduction of Bedaquiline has earned South Africa the top spot in being the first country in the world to dispense this type of treatment. The department says Bedaquilline has been hailed for its effective treatment and short turnaround time.

Treating patients with drug resistant tuberculosis has been difficult with old medicines used, which had many negative side effects and over long periods � often up to 24 months,” said Njeka.

“However, a new medicine for the treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis, became available in 2013 and the National Department of Health was granted permission by the Medicine Control Council (MCC) to provide Bedaquiline to drug resistant TB patients who had limited treatment options, through the Bedaquiline Clinical Access Programme (BCAP).”


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