Four Main Themes of the 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health

Four Main Themes of the 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health

Dr. Frank Mugabe, Manager of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme in Uganda, describes the urban DOTS model.

Thirty MSH staff coordinated 2 workshops and 7 symposia and contributed 13 oral and 53 poster presentations to the 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Liverpool from October 26 through 29—a historic presence at this event. USAID and WHO experts called the MSH-led symposia on multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and urban DOTS “outstanding.” In the area of urban DOTS, presenters described the successful approaches that MSH has used in Kabul and Kampala under Challenge TB/Afghanistan and Uganda Track TB.

Four main themes emerged from the conference:

  1. The gap in the number of TB cases detected is higher than previously thought, reaching about 4.3 million people. The World Health Organization is developing the Pathway, a new tool to determine where gaps in detection occur.
  2. With TB now at 10.4 million new cases per year, donor resources will fall far short of addressing the problem, and all countries must increase financial support from government. Advocacy and the involvement of civil society are crucial.
  3. Innovations and best practices in diagnosis and treatment must be scaled up and their use maximized. Andre Zagorski, Manager of the Global Drug Facility for the Stop TB Partnership, characterized the very low uptake of new drugs for MDR-TB as “disastrous.”
  4. Applying local data to decision-making means having electronic, not paper, systems and using digital technology for TB care. Countries should document the TB burden and challenges to provide evidence for national and local decision-makers.

MSH was also perceived as an innovator in the areas of community-based DOTS, TB program implementation in fragile states, contact investigation, TB in children, TB infection control, and TB and diabetes. In terms of diagnosis and treatment, MSH experts highlighted experience in GeneXpert implementation, pharmacovigilance, the introduction of new pediatric medicines, and strategies for adherence to treatment. MSH marshaled its capabilities in strengthening the whole health system to deliver informative papers and sessions about TB financing, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, and TB surveillance. The team from SIAPS (Systems for Improving Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services) made a strong showing. Pharmacovigilance—the detection, assessment, and prevention of adverse drug effects as part of an active approach to drug safety—is particularly important in the case of MDR-TB, extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), and the use of new medicines. SIAPS also launched version 4 of the QuanTB electronic tool for the quantification and procurement of TB medicines.