#TBFreeWorld: MSH TB Experts from Ethiopia and Uganda Share Context and Experience on MDR-TB Panel

#TBFreeWorld: MSH TB Experts from Ethiopia and Uganda Share Context and Experience on MDR-TB Panel

 {Photo credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH}Expert panelists discuss MDR-TB (from left): Joshua Michaud, Kaiser Family Foundation; Alexander Golubkov, USAID; Muluken Melese, MSH, Ethiopia; and Kenneth Mutesasira, MSH, Uganda.Photo credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH

“When we started our project in 2011, there was no system in place to identify multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB),” explained Muluken Melese, project director for the Help Ethiopia Address the Low Tuberculosis Performance (HEAL TB) project. However, since then, the five-year USAID-funded project, implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), has expanded access to TB services to over half the population of Ethiopia and led a 15-fold increase in the number of MDR-TB patients on treatment.

Melese shared Ethiopia's experiences during an event held Thursday, February 11, 2016, called, Supporting the National Action Plan: Implementation of Effective Interventions to Combat MDR-TB. Hosted jointly by MSH and RESULTS, the expert panel discussion further explored the White House’s National Action Plan for Combating MDR-TB (PDF) with a focus on proven strategies.

Claiming a life every 15 seconds, TB is the single largest infectious killer in the world and is universally recognized as a global epidemic. Almost 10 million people developed TB in 2014, and 37 percent of new TB cases were undiagnosed or not reported. The emergence of MDR-TB, the result of poor TB control and insufficient or incomplete treatment, brings additional challenges to already burdened health systems. As Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS explained, the burden of MDR-TB destroys families and pushes them into poverty.

The ambitious National Action Plan is a comprehensive strategy, as outlined to the audience by Alexander Golubkov, senior tuberculosis advisor, USAID, to mobilize political will and garner commitment from donors, partners, private-sector partners, and governments. The plan aims to have initiated appropriate treatment in 35 percent of all patients with MDR-TB in the top 10 countries with the highest MDR-TB burden by 2018.

[MSH staffer, Kenneth Mutesasira, deputy chief of party, USAID-funded and MSH-led TRACK TB program in Uganda] {Photo credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH}MSH staffer, Kenneth Mutesasira, deputy chief of party, USAID-funded and MSH-led TRACK TB program in UgandaPhoto credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH

Key to the success of the plan will be the effective implementation of both innovative and tested interventions. Kenneth Mutesasira, deputy chief of party of the USAID-funded and MSH-led TRACK TB program in Uganda illustrated how using a mixed model of care and decentralization can rapidly scale up MDR-TB services in resource-poor settings and prevent taxing an already overburdened health system. The project has improved the capacity for treatment of MDR-TB from 3 to 15 hospitals, increased enrollment of patients, and has achieved successful treatment outcomes in 80 percent of patients.

The panel discussion, moderated by Joshua Michaud, associate director for global health policy, Kaiser Family Foundation focused on the experiences of Melese and Mutesasira working with the private sector, the role of the community and the need for patient-centered care. A key takeaway message of Michaud and the rest of the speakers was that funding allocations for TB must match the current priorities to move forward and tackle MDR-TB.

[MSH's Chinwe Owunna, Principal Technical Advisor for TB, USAID's Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, describes SIAPS' work in pharmaceutical management of MDR-TB.] {Photo credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH}MSH's Chinwe Owunna, Principal Technical Advisor for TB, USAID's Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, describes SIAPS' work in pharmaceutical management of MDR-TB.Photo credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH

For more coverage of the #TBfreeworld panel discussion, see this Storify story @ MSHActs.

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