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Resources and Reports
GOOD NEWS from KAZAKHSTAN:  Tuberculosis on decrease in the last 10 years

GOOD NEWS from KAZAKHSTAN: Tuberculosis on decrease in the last 10 years

According to the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the country made a good progress in the tuberculosis incidence and mortality. Over the last 10 years the incidence of TB in Kazakhstan decreased by 2.2 times and the mortality rate decreased by 5 times. In 2015, the incidence decreased by 11.9% and amounted to 58.5 per 100 thousand population (in 2014 – 66.4), the mortality rate decreased by 22.4% and amounted to 3.8 per 100 thousand population (in 2014 – 4.9) (Health Ministry) The effective treatment of newly diagnosed patients with sensitive tuberculosis in 2015 improved and reached 87.6% compared to 86.4% in 2014 (WHO standard – 85%). “Today, all regions of the country are provided with modern equipment for diagnosis of tuberculosis, including its drug-resistant forms. The country has sufficient level of necessary medicines, “the ministry informed. This blog is the product of an activity that has received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020). The content of this blog represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food More…

Is sustainable domestic financing of TB response a reality in EECA region?

Is sustainable domestic financing of TB response a reality in EECA region?

This article, originally, posted on Aidspan was written by Sveta McGill, Health Advocacy Officer, at RESULTS UK.  In 2014 the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria started implementing its new funding model (NFM). The NFM aims to re-allocate its resources away from middle-income countries towards those with the highest burdens of disease and the least ability to pay.  For the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) – the single most-affected region in the world by the spread of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) – a loss of eligibility for Global Fund funding is bad news. Since its founding in 2002, the Fund has been a key donor and supporter of HIV and TB programs in EECA. Global Fund investments have supported countries in their development of enabling environments and have helped strengthen their health and community systems allowing the region to show progress against HIV and TB. In particular, the Fund has been very supportive, both administratively and financially, of civil society in EECA where civil society organizations implement Fund-resourced programs. As a result, TB advocates and CSOs are now very aware that it is mostly the work they are doing within vulnerable communities that will be most More…

REPORT LAUNCH: Falling Short:  A Civil Society Perspective of the Response to Multi & Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (M/XDR-TB) in the European Region

REPORT LAUNCH: Falling Short: A Civil Society Perspective of the Response to Multi & Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (M/XDR-TB) in the European Region

Falling Short: A Civil Society Perspective of the Response to Multi & Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (M/XDR-TB) in the European Region Progress in involving civil society in national TB programmes across the European region is falling short. As 2015 is quickly approaching, the report finds that only one of the eight indicators related to the community aspects of the Consolidated Action Plan to Prevent and Combat M/XDR-TB 2011-2015 (MAP) has been met. Worldwide, almost half a million people developed MDR-TB in 2013 and the European Region continues to bear a quarter of the global MDR-TB burden, with some of the highest rates of drug-resistance among new TB cases. Fifteen of the twenty-seven WHO high MDR-TB burden countries are situated in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, while our MDR-TB cure rates in the lowest in the world. In practical terms, this means that only one MDR-TB patient in three in the European Union –one of the richest regions in the world- is successfully treated. “Civil society can play a transformative role in TB care and should be recognised as significant players in the TB response in the European region. Often, civil society is embedded within communities and well placed to take More…

A new study highlights potential for social media to support MDR-TB patients

A new study highlights potential for social media to support MDR-TB patients

A study – “I can also serve as an inspiration” – a role for social media in supporting patients undergoing treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)” – was published this week in PLOS ONE by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). It highlights the potential for social media to support patients undergoing treatment for multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (TB). The qualitative research examined the experiences of patients and health staff involved in the ‘TB & ME’ collaborative blogging project for patients undergoing treatment for MDR and XDR TB around the world. The current treatment for MDR-TB can take up to 2 years and has a low cure rate, which is partially because of serious side-effects that make adherence to the TB drugs challenging. Therefore, support for adherence to treatment remains a critical element to cure. Participants in the MSF study reported that blogging was seen to help patients to continue with their treatment. The online audience led to bloggers feeling encouraged by their followers, wanting to set a positive example for others and provided a distraction from the long and difficult treatment. No negative outcomes from taking part in the blogging project were mentioned by those involved in the study. More…

TB in Romania: For Patients Waiting for XDR-TB Treatment in Romania, Someday Never Comes

TB in Romania: For Patients Waiting for XDR-TB Treatment in Romania, Someday Never Comes

In March 2014, Jonathan Stillo, a member of TB Europe Coalition’s Steering Committee, participated in the joint World Health Organization (WHO) and European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) National Tuberculosis (TB) Program Review in Romania on a team of eleven international and fifteen national experts. This blog does not necessarily reflect the positions of WHO or ECDC and should be seen as one research and advocacy expert’s opinion that is informed by eight years of working in Romania. The published 2014 review of Romania’s TB program should be available in early autumn. Right now, 30,000 Romanians have various forms of TB. This is by far the largest number in the European Union (EU), accounting for about 25% of all cases in member states. Over the past ten years, the overall TB incidence in Romania has dropped steadily. However, even after this reduction, Romania’s TB incidence and prevalence eclipse all other EU countries. The Romanian incidence rate is presently more than five times the EU average and about twenty times higher than low incidence countries such as Germany. Romania also has the largest number of drug resistant TB cases in the EU. About 1,500 people are living now with Multi-Drug Resistant More…

TB in Romania: mapping the needs

TB in Romania: mapping the needs

The Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation and the Association for MDR-TB Patients Support conducted in February – March a survey among Romanian TB and MDR-TB patients, their families and specialists working in the field, in order to pinpoint the patients’ social, psychological and medical needs. The survey report was published in June and it shows the main needs reported by patients or identified by the professionals who work with them.  Context In 2013, more than 15,000 cases of tuberculosis (TB) have been diagnosed in Romania. According to the statistics provided by the National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP), 30,000 people with TB, MDR-TB and XDR-TB were under treatment in Romania in 2011, of which 65% were men. Under-diagnosis of patients with resistant tuberculosis combined with high estimates of the number of such cases is perhaps the most serious problems the Romanian system of tuberculosis prevention and control is facing today. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), about 800 new MDR/XDR-TB cases should be diagnosed annually in Romania, but in reality only about 400 new cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) are identified. In the context of a severe underfunding of the National Tuberculosis Programme, More…

Practical tips to ensure the Global Fund delivers the impact communities need - Russian and English

Practical tips to ensure the Global Fund delivers the impact communities need – Russian and English

The Global Fund is encouraging all civil society organisations enusre that they are fully involved in the country dialogue and development of the concept note to ensure that their views are listened to and costed in any application submitted to the Global Fund. You can read more about this below both in English and Russian. In order to ensure active civil society engagemnet in Global Fund processes, the organisation have also released a brouchure that offers practical tips and advice on how civil society and key communities can get involved na dmake sure they play an active role. You can download the brochure – Engage! Practical tips to ensure the new funding model delivers the impact communities need – can be downloaded here in English and here in Русский. Given that the current resources of the Global Fund are limited, it is expected that full expression of demand will substantially exceed the ‘funding allocations’ that have been communicated to countries by the Global Fund (even when the ‘incentive funding’ opportunity would be added to this). The Global Fund Technical Review Panel (TRP) will review the full demand as expressed in the concept notes.  They will assess which elements of the full demand More…

An Activist's Guide to Tuberculosis Drugs

An Activist’s Guide to Tuberculosis Drugs

Treatment Action Group (TAG), an independent HIV/AIDS and TB research and policy think tank, have released an incredibly useful guide to TB drugs. You can access the guide here in order to find out about TB drugs, what they are used for, their side effects, whether they are in use and what the prospects are for their use in the future. As TAG themselves say, TB treatment must be shorter, simpler, less toxic, and more tolerable and affordable. Activists can contribute to the development and uptake of improved TB treatment by calling attention to research, quality of medications, and access priorities. This guide provides a brief summary of safety and efficacy data for those drugs currently in use for TB (many of which have been approved for other diseases but are used off-label for TB), and suggests advocacy points for activists.

Only 1 in 3 MDR TB patients in Europe successfully complete treatment

Only 1 in 3 MDR TB patients in Europe successfully complete treatment

To mark World TB Day on 24 March 2014, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe have released their  joint TB surveillance and monitoring report for Europe 2014. While the report does make clear that, overall, the EU/EEA countries have met the target of an average five-year decline it is clear that there is much more that must be done to ensure we turn the tide against a disease which continues to destroy lives and livelihoods across the region. Perhaps the most shocking revelation is that countries have not yet met the set targets for successful treatment of MDR-TB. In fact, just one in three people infected with MDR-TB are finishing their treatment successfully. This really is an unacceptable statistic that should alarm our national and regional leaders into investing more resources into tackling TB. As ECDC Director Marc Sprenger has said: If we are not able to diagnose and treat patients with MDR-TB early and successfully, this not only puts patients’ lives at risk but also paves the way for XDR-TB. This is why it is essential to enable healthcare workers across Europe to fully support all MDR-TB More…

TB rates in some of Europe's biggest cities continue to increase

TB rates in some of Europe’s biggest cities continue to increase

A recent study published in Eurosurveillance has found that TB in western Europe is concentrated in big cities. Moreover, the research also found that while the number of TB cases continues to reduce in some countries in Europe the rate of TB within some the region’s largest cities continues to increase.  This is a marked change where rates of TB are showing an overall reduction but, conversely, an increase in big cities. The study looked into cities with populations greater than 500,000 from across the EU and concluded that in many cases the rate of TB in big cities was twice the rate of the countries national TB incidence. Much of this can be attributed to TB mainly affecting certain high risk urban groups, including homeless people and those with previous drugs and alcohol misuse. Ibrahim Abubakar, Public Health England’s head of TB and Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at UCL made note of this when saying: Elimination of TB in European big cities requires control measures focused on addressing the diversity of individuals in urban populations and efforts to target TB must drive right down to local and regional level where unique experience of how to reduce the infection More…

TB: Voices in the fight against the European epidemic

TB: Voices in the fight against the European epidemic

The TB Europe Coalition recently released an updated version of our report ‘Tuberculosis: Voices in the fight against the European epidemic‘. Here we tell the story of Iulian. Since we first published Iulian’s story in our report, Iulian developed XDR-TB and passed away in spring of 2012, leaving behind a wife and two children. Iulian spent his life working in agriculture and construction. Until he got sick with TB he had what he called a ‘beautiful life’. Here is his story: Iulian contracted TB in 2007 and soon developed MDR-TB. At first he took his medication regularly, but he was forced to interrupt his treatment to go back to work so that he could support his family. When he returned home to restart treatment, his local dispensary ran out of one of the four drugs needed to treat his MDR-TB, meaning only part of his treatment was available. Drug stock-outs cause patients to lose faith in the system and increase the likelihood that patients develop drug resistance due to uneven treatment. When asked about how TB made him feel, Iulian explained: I always feel that I have this disease. I have this fear in my hear that I’m never going to More…

Azerbaijan achieves some of the best cure rates for drug-resistant TB in prisons

Azerbaijan achieves some of the best cure rates for drug-resistant TB in prisons

A new film produced for the International Committee of the Red Cross shows how Azerbaijan has managed to achieve some of the best cure rates for multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in prisons in the former Soviet Union and one of the best worldwide. The European region hosts some of the worst rates of MDR-TB in the world, particularly in countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. This is largely as a result of a disintegration of effective healthcare after the deterioration of the USSR. This meant that TB either went untreated or was treated improperly meaning that drug-resistant strains were able to emerge. The treatment of these strains remains a considerable problem in the region and in places of detention the issue is even worse. However, there is hope that the problem is being beginning to be addressed with Azerbaijan an example of what can be achieved with the correct focus. The ICRC explain that the film shows how a combination of individual attention at the country’s central treatment facility, specialist follow-up care and solid political commitment, has made Azerbaijan a model for combating MDR-TB in prisons. The WHO has recognised that Azerbaijan’s programme is a model to learn from and has taken delegations More…

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