Targeting 1.5 million missed TB cases

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The Global Fund, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Stop TB Partnership and 13 countries with a high burden of TB have launched a programme to find and treat an additional 1.5 million missing cases of TB by the end of 2019.

The countries – Bangladesh, Congo DR, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine, Kenya, Mozambique and India – account for 55% of all missed cases of TB and multidrug-resistant TB.

The initiative spans from the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health which took place earlier this month in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Global Fund said that ‘the new initiative is critically important to stopping the spread of TB and to reaching the global goal of ending TB as an epidemic by 2030.’

The new effort seeks to support a combination of innovative and targeted programmes, promote better use of data and evidence, and expand the most successful approaches to find more missing cases of TB. The Global Fund said that it is investing $190 million in the initiative. The money, which comes from the Fund’s catalytic investments, had been announced previously. The $190 million includes:

  • US$115 million in matching funds designed to support country-led programes;
  • a US$10 million strategic initiative to help technical partners develop new tools based on best practices; and
  • a US$65 million multi-country investment that will address cross-border programmes such as responding to drug-resistant TB among migrant workers, and providing treatment to refugees and internally displaced people.

According to the Global Fund Observer (the newsletter of AIDSPAN the Global Fund watchdog group) some of the areas where the investments will be used are as follows:

  • to implement systematic and routine screening among children, prisoners, migrants and people living in urban slums;
  • to promote better use of diagnostic tools such as X-rays and GeneXpert technology;
  • to support a closer engagement between private and public-sector providers to accelerate case finding, treatment and prevention; and
  • to support gender and legal assessments to help remove the main barriers to accessing TB services.

The initial announcement did not mention what the other partners and countries are investing. The Global Fund Secretariat told Aidspan that the WHO and Stop TB will work with other partners to support countries through a joint plan. In a guidance document on its TB catalytic investments, the Global Fund said that the main objective of this funding is to find missing cases of both drug susceptible TB and MDR-TB patients using new and innovative interventions, approaches and ideas ‘that do not continue the business as usual approaches.’ In countries where innovative approaches exist, the Fund said, catalytic funding could be positioned to scale-up or expand these interventions.

Reproduced from Global Fund Observer Newsletter, a service of Aidspan

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