Photo: MSF doctor Christoph Hoehn and nurse Gulru Nobodieva examine a nine-month old baby in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. sTajikistan 2013 © Christoph Hoehn/MSF
Tajikistan: MSF Treats its Youngest-Ever Patient with Multidrug-Resistant TB
“Shirinmo is not the youngest child we have seen with tuberculosis, but she is the youngest patient we have diagnosed with MDR-TB,” says Dr. Christoph Hoehn of MSF, which opened its children’s MDR-TB project in Tajikistan in late 2011. “Babies have a high risk of developing these diseases because their immune system hasn’t fully matured,” he says.
MSF has started formulating MDR-TB drugs specifically for children at a pharmacy in Dushanbe. Until now, there were no MDR-TB formulations on the market for children, who had to take drugs produced for adults—usually large, hard-to-swallow pills with a very unpleasant taste. MSF staff created a child-friendly syrup by dissolving the drugs in a flavored liquid, which is measured into appropriate doses for babies and adolescents. Tajikistan is the first MSF project where this formulation is being used to treat young patients, including Shirinmo.