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Jakarta Post

Indonesia struggles to tackle drug-resistant tuberculosis

  • Gemma Holliani Cahya

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Mon, July 22 2019   /  12:17 am

With the rising threat of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), Indonesia, a country with the third largest number of cases, is finding itself in a tough spot to combat the disease. Despite the country having provided medication for all kinds of tuberculosis for free, many patients have their treatment cut halfway as they become resistant to the drugs and recovery becomes more problematic. Treatment for DR-TB is more difficult than regular TB as it requires different drugs — which are more costly and have stronger side effects. The treatment also takes longer — the drugs must be taken for up to two years, compared to the six months in regular TB cases. “According to the most recent data from the Health Ministry, it is predicted that we have around 12,000 DR-TB cases per year. But only around 8,800 could be diagnosed. And only 75 percent of the diagnosed patients are fully treated,...