Stop TB Partnership

{Photo credit: MSH staff/Afghanistan}Photo credit: MSH staff/Afghanistan

“I started feeling this coughing… so I went to the health center and got tested. It was positive for TB,” says Grace*, a young Ugandan woman. She started on medicines, but after two months, she stopped adhering to treatment.

They told me to continue with the drugs for five more months, but I stopped.

I thought I was ok.

She started coughing again, went to the hospital, and was diagnosed with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). MDR-TB cannot be treated with two of the most powerful first-line treatment anti-TB drugs. Her treatment regimen? Six months of injections and two years of drugs.

 {Photo credit: Warren Zelman}The MSH-led Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program is co-hosting the Global TB Conference 2015: Building the Post-2015 Agenda with the Stop TB Partnership Global Drug Facility.Photo credit: Warren Zelman
The US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), in collaboration with the Stop TB Partnership Global Drug Facility, will host a technical conference titled, “Building the Post-2015 Agenda: Novel Approaches to Improving Access to TB Medicines and Pharmaceutical Services” from March 2-6, 2015 at the Conrad Bangkok Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

The invitation-only conference will feature country experiences using tested approaches to prevent tuberculosis (TB) medicine stock-outs, increase TB case detection through private sector engagement, and ensure patient safety during TB treatment. National TB program (NTP) managers or deputies; NTP procurement and supply management leads; monitoring and evaluation leads for TB/data managers; donors; and World Health Organization and Stop TB Partnership partners are expected to attend.

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.

This post originally appeared on the SIAPS website.

After decades of relying on old medicines, new drugs designed specifically for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) are finally on the market. While these medicines represent a major advancement in the fight against TB, ensuring equitable access for patients is still an enormous challenge. At the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health, the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), collaborated with the Stop TB Partnership Global Drug Facility (GDF) to host a full-day workshop addressing common hurdles to treatment access, as well as available solutions.

The SIAPS program focused on three common challenges in medicines availability: quantification, public-private mixes, and medicines safety.

 {Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.}A pharmacy in Kenya.Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.

Guaranteeing that patients have uninterrupted access to anti-tuberculosis (TB) treatment begins with national TB programs (NTP) making complex calculations about how many cases to expect in the future.  Vigilant stock management, accurate number of cases started on each type of treatment along with forecasting the expected number of patients that will be enrolled on treatment, are vital to ensure that medicines are available to all patients who need them.

To promote a systems-strengthening approach to TB medicines management, the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program developed QuanTB—a downloadable, desktop tool that transforms intricate calculations into a user-friendly dashboard displaying key quantification and supply planning information.

{Photo credit: Katy Doyle / MSH.}Photo credit: Katy Doyle / MSH.

Stop TB in my lifetime.

This global call to action---the Stop TB Partnership's theme for March 24, World TB Day 2013---is as relevant now as it was over a hundred years ago.

Progress toward reducing the global burden of tuberculosis (TB) has been impressive in recent years: TB mortality has fallen by 41 percent since 1990.

Yet, TB remains one of the world’s leading causes of death, killing more than 1.4 million people per year, including 70,000 children. In 2011, 600,000 people died of TB in Africa alone---including many people with HIV.

Low detection rates, new strains of multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB), high prevalence of HIV/TB co-infection, and risk of TB among diabetes patients---nearly 10 percent of TB cases are linked to diabetes, add to the challenge of TB control, especially among the poor and most vulnerable.

World TB Day celebration in Ghana (2012). {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Sunday, March 24, 2013, is World TB Day, and MSH staff and partners are promoting global efforts to stop TB throughout the week.

Here are highlights from some of our activities around the world:

The Afghanistan TB CARE I team is working with the national TB program (NTP) to conduct celebration events at 290 health facilities and communities in 13 USAID-supported provinces. TB messages will be aired through local telephone companies to approximately one million people throughout the nation. TB CARE I is also identifying and publicly rewarding high-performing health workers.

The Bangladesh SIAPS TB team will participate in a national rally on March 24 with all TB partners and stakeholders within the NTP network, as well as in a press conference, workshop, and scientific session.

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