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On World TB Day, March 24th 2017, Otsuka Pharmaceutical in cooperation with South Africa’s Ministry of Health and a non-governmental organization called Right to Care, officially launched DCAP, a clinical access program for delamanid (DeltybaTM), a medicine developed by Otsuka for the treatment of pulmonary multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
The event, organized by South Africa’s Ministry of Health and the National TB Programme, took place at the Sizwe Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. About 150 government officials, healthcare workers, TB experts, civil society representatives, and other dignitaries gathered to mark this occasion. During the ceremony, the Japanese Ambassador to South Africa, Mr. Shigeyuki Hiroki, emphasized that delamanid is an example of Japanese contributions to strengthening public health in Africa, and presented a box of delamanid to Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa’s Minister of Health.
Dr. Motsoaledi, a global champion in the fight against TB, delivered the keynote address highlighting that delamanid will be initially made available to children (ages 12-18), HIV co-infected people, and TB patients with diabetes. “We are very happy because these are key populations suffering from TB. We thank Otsuka, as they are providing us this drug, and it will be given to patients in regions with the biggest TB burden in the country”, said Dr. Motsoaledi, adding, “This day marks an important milestone in South Africa’s response to the TB epidemic.”
South Africa has one of the highest burdens of TB and HIV in the world. The two diseases are strongly interlinked, with 35% of deaths from HIV being caused by TB. Unlike HIV, TB is fully curable -- as long as there are effective medicines. However, many South Africans are infected with TB bacteria that are resistant to the first-line anti-TB therapies, which pose a grave public health emergency. In 2015, over 20,000 people were diagnosed with drug-resistant TB. Through this access programme, Otsuka aims to provide an additional treatment option for some of these difficult to treat patients. The experiences from this programme will help provide programmatic evidence on how delamanid can be effectively implemented within South Africa.
Working with committed partners, Otsuka is balancing two priorities: the need for urgent access and for antimicrobial stewardship necessary to prevent the emergence of further drug resistance. In this way, Otsuka is delivering innovative solutions to address unmet medical needs.