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March 11, 2013

Few children at the pediatric tuberculosis hospital in Dushanbe look as active and healthy as Shirinmo*. The little girl is bright and busy as she crawls across the waiting room floor. But get closer and you can hear that her breath comes in gasps and has a rattling sound. The devastating diagnosis: the nine-month-old is suffering from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a disease that spreads easily and, if left untreated, kills.

Malaysia, with its booming economy and surrounded largely by poorer nations, attracts high numbers of migrants. Many of them come to find work in construction or agriculture. Others have fled violence and persecution in their home countries, like Myanmar or Indonesia's Aceh province. They often live in a twilight zone, with no official status and no rights to fall back on. They also have difficulty accessing health services.

Data reveals urgent need to scale up treatment

Study confirms crisis in cases going undiagnosed