Drug-resistant tuberculosis is spreading in Armenia in part because of incorrect and ineffective treatment methods, Tatevik Kostanyan, director of the Anti-Tuberculosis National Program head office in the country, said recently, Arminfo reports. There were 50.2 TB cases per 100,000 people recorded last year, compared with 21.6 cases per 100,000 people in 1995, Kostanyan said.
According to Kostanyan, many Armenian doctors are contributing to the spread of drug-resistant TB by declining to adopt World Health Organization-recommended DOTS methods. She said that these doctors continue to use outdated Soviet methods of TB treatment even after undergoing relevant DOTS training. "Sometimes, even the longest treatment course proves ineffective for the drug-resistant patients," Kostanyan said. Doctors who refuse to use DOTS cannot be punished because there is no relevant legislation requiring them to use the new methods, Arminfo reports.
According to Kostanyan, a total of 6,455 TB cases have been reported in the country. She said the largest number of patients with TB have been older than age 25 from financially stable families. According to Arminfo, it costs about $10,000 to $15,000 to treat a person who has drug-resistant TB, but only $200 per person is allocated in the budget for treatment.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation