Challenge TB

Speeches Shim

One of the first patients to complete his treatment on a new regimen. It was almost twice as short as the standard treatment used before.
One of the first patients to complete his treatment on a new regimen. It was almost twice as short as the standard treatment used before.
Challenge TB

Duration: 2015- 2019

Budget: 3.3 million USD

Implementing Partner: KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation

Key Partners: National TB program, Ministry of Health, TB care facilities

Activity Locations: Nationwide


In the Kyrgyz Republic the Challenge TB project helps to implement shorter regimens and new drugs for the treatment of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis.

Worldwide, only half of patients with multi-drug resistant forms of TB (MDR-TB) are successfully treated and when left untreated, a person with MDR-TB may infect 10-15 people every year. This is a major public health problem that arises due to inadequate drug supply, improper prescription of antibiotics, and also because of the difficulties patients face during a long and often toxic therapy.


The Kyrgyz Republic is one of the 30 countries in the world with a high burden of MDR-TB, and it is estimated that every year there are 1,400 new cases. The country faces serious challenges, including long treatment periods, poor supply management and an absence of effective treatment options for the highly

The recent endorsement of new anti-TB drugs by stringent regulatory authorities and WHO provides the opportunity to introduce new drugs and shorter regimens for the treatment of M/XDR-TB in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The Challenge TB project aims to support the introduction of new drugs such as Bedaquiline and Delamanid and new treatment regimens to reduce the M/XDR-TB burden in the Kyrgyz Republic by improving health systems and clinicians’ skills in diagnosis and case management. The project is also assisting the country in implementing a national plan for the introduction of a treatment that cures MDR-TB in half less time (from up to 24 months to 9-12 months).

Over the next two years, the project will support the National TB Program to provide countrywide access to new drugs and shorter regimens. This will include building the local technical and human resource capacities in close collaboration with national and international partners.

The Kyrgyz Republic expects a full transition to the new treatment regimens in 2018.


By January 2018, 132 patients were enrolled on treatment with new drugs and 129 on shorter regimen.

The first patients enrolled on shorter regimen in January 2018 successfully finished their treatment in October.    

Patients on new drugs report having less side effects and faster clinical improvement. After five months of treatment, out of the 28 first patients on new drugs, 19 stopped being contagious (68%) and 3 out the 5 patients who were critically ill, had a significantly improved clinical condition.

Challenge TB has developed a patient-centered strategy based on a tailored approach to each particular case. By January 2018, 90% of patients adhere to treatment with new drugs, even though most of the patients have had TB for years and lost trust in treatment.

By mid-September 2017, the project had also trained more than 1,000 health workers and organized 48 local trainings around the country in order to improve the quality of MDR-TB treatment and smoothly introduce the individual treatments with new drugs and shorter regimen.