Georgia: Fighting the 'dragon with nine heads'

November 3, 2016
TB doctor Irma Davitadze at work at the Regional Center of Infectious Pathology, AIDS and Tuberculosis in Batumi, a beach resort town on the Black Sea. MSF has worked here since 2014. (Daro Sulakauri)

TB doctor Irma Davitadze at work at the Regional Center of Infectious Pathology, AIDS and Tuberculosis in Batumi, a beach resort town on the Black Sea. MSF has worked here since 2014. (Daro Sulakauri)

On the outskirts of Batumi, a beach town on the Black Sea popular with Georgians, Russians, Turks and Israelis, Teimuraz Ajiba sits down to pose for a portrait. We are outside the city’s worn-down tuberculosis (TB) hospital. Ajiba has a wide smile and a strong, wiry frame. He says he feels better, despite his treatment being paused while his liver recovers from the toxic drugs - and despite TB being just one of his problems. He also suffers from hepatitis B, hepatitis C, skin cancer and HIV.

To complicate matters, his TB is ‘drug-resistant’: for Ajiba, the standard antibiotics no longer work. Multidrug-resistant TB or ‘MDR-TB’, as it is known, requires up to two years of pills and injections. This treatment is much less effective, using so-called ‘second line’ drugs with often harsh side effects - such as deafness, psychosis, nausea and, in his case, liver toxicity that aggravates his hepatitis. 

View the full article on Atavist.

PIH MSF MSF UNITAID