Home » News

How Peru changed the game on MDR-TB treatment

Dartmouth's Jaime Bayona recently spoke at the Salzberg Global Seminar about his experiences fighting multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Peru. His innovative efforts focused on building partnerships to overcome what some people believed were impossible odds. From the article:

With the cost of curing MDR-TB in New York placed at $250,000 per patient, Bayona, a Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth faculty member and head of global health programs for the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, but previously director of Socios En Salud Sucursal Peru (the Peruvian branch of Partners in Health), was told it would be impossible to cure the widespread and persistent disease in the much poorer country of Peru.

An innovative approach was needed to attempt to solve the seemingly unbeatable disease in a context deemed unfavorable.

"We were told this is the best you can do with the resources you have," said Bayona of their initial treatment program. But the tenacious Peruvian was unwilling to accept that judgement, and was determined to improve their MDR-TB program.

Working through partnerships with the pharmaceutical companies providing the medicine capable of tackling MDR-TB, Peru was able to drive down the cost of each injection down from $30 to 99¢ for its citizens. (Clearly, as Bayona pointed out, "the drugs are not showing the trust cost".)

But just simply having cheaper drugs available was not going to be enough to tackle this issue. Attitudes needed to be changed, and most importantly, communities engaged.

Read the full original story here.