The National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) in Belarus, in collaboration with WHO and with the support of the United Nations Development Programme; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (the Global Fund); and Médecins Sans Frontières, organized a workshop on "The use of bedaquiline to treat XDR-TB" on 7 May 2015 at the Republican Scientific and Practical Centre for Pulmonology and Tuberculosis in Minsk, Belarus. The training was conducted by WHO and national experts from NTP and the National Pharmacovigilance Centre and was attended by 28 participants.
The workshop is one of several steps as Belarus prepares to introduce the use of bedaquiline. Other steps included Ministerial Order No. 696 of 23 June 2014 "On the introduction of cohort monitoring in XDR-TB patients", the revised plan "Bedaquiline implementation in Belarus" and the updated national protocol for treatment of patients with XDR-TB and pre-XDR-TB.
The national protocol was developed with WHO's assistance and follows WHO's interim policy guidance on the 5 conditions that must be in place if bedaquiline is used for treatment:
- effective treatment and monitoring
- proper patient inclusion
- informed consent
- adherence to WHO recommendations
- active pharmacovigilance and management of adverse events.
NTP has already received, and cleared through customs, enough bedaquiline (together with other second-line anti-TB drugs) from the Global Drug Facility and the Global Fund to treat 186 pre- and XDR-TB patients. Treatment of the first patients is planned for June 2015.
WHO/Europe provides technical assistance to Belarus with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development grant "Enhancement of the Stop TB Strategy in Belarus, 2010–2013".