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TB Care and Management
National Dialogue in Belarus - Collaborative Plan of Action to End TB

National Dialogue in Belarus – Collaborative Plan of Action to End TB

On the 6th and 7th August, TBEC ran the first National Dialogue for the Development of Partner Cooperation to End TB in Belarus. What does this long title actually mean? And what actually happened during the course of these two days in Minsk? During the two days, the 45 participants discussed how to organise people centred TB care in cooperation between civil society and how to introduce mechanisms for social contracting of TB care. The participants included: experts, key decision makers, people living with TB, representatives of civil society, two deputies from the Belorussian national assembly, three directors from state-level health departments, head of TB services, international experts, and journalists. The event was organised under the auspices of the regional TB Rep 2.0 programme. However, the thing that truly differentiated this from other events was that people living with TB participated on equal grounds with doctors and healthcare organisers. We would even go as far as to say that genuine dialogue took place – almost everyone who needed to be there was able to participate. What was discussed at the National Dialogue? One of the key questions during the meeting was regarding the development of cooperation between TB services and societal organisations in More…

LHL International's work in Norway

LHL International’s work in Norway

LHL International are a member of the TB Europe Coalition. In Norway, approximately 90 per cent of those who become ill come from countries with a high incidence of TB. LHL International works actively with immigrants and vulnerable groups that  for various reasons have less access to healthcare services and are at high risk of getting TB. Many have little knowledge of TB, and there is a need to spread information that is adapted to the different target groups and their needs. We do outreach information work at immigrant introduction centres, asylum centres, and meeting places for immigrant organisations. We also cooperate with immigrant organisations and health personnel in developing information particularly adapted to affected groups. Among materials developed are information booklets and films in Norwegian; English and other minority languages. You can watch one of our short information films in various languages here. One former patient who appreciated the information booklet said: “Technical people use scientific words, but other words are needed. We like information that is presented in a soft and nice way. It is important to become friend of your problem. Information is part of the treatment”. Many TB patients have a difficult time because they have recently More…

Civil Society Capacity Building for DR-TB Regional Meeting

Civil Society Capacity Building for DR-TB Regional Meeting

When new, effective medicines providing safe treatment for widespread debilitating diseases, it is vitally important to ensure that everyone who needs such medicines has access to them. It was with this aim therefore that TBEC held a regional meeting on civil society capacity building for DR-TB. Existing TB treatments are incredibly gruelling for the patient, but medical innovations (shorter or safer treatments, new medicines, or more exact methods of diagnosis) can genuinely relieve a patient’s suffering. But what use are such innovations if patients aren’t able to access them? What use are new medicines if there’s no way for hospitals to buy them or any way to prescribe that they are needed? Any measurement of the success of innovative treatments has to be countered by an assessment of their accessibility. When everyone has access to new treatments, we can start to talk about how successful they are. Guidelines on DR-TB Treatment The recent WHO recommendations on drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) are the first in a long time that provide a genuine possibility to start to improve the treatment of DR-TB by using innovative and more effective medicines with less debilitating side effects. It is therefore vital that we do not waste time; More…

First Results of Tuberculosis Programme in Tajikistan

First Results of Tuberculosis Programme in Tajikistan

Within the framework of the Project “Assistance in reducing the burden of tuberculosis in the Republic of Tajikistan” – implemented in the country since May 2018 – 1,499 people have been tested for TB, of which 77 were diagnosed with TB. All 77 have started treatment and have been included in the Social Support Programme. The interim results of one of the project’s components – the Small Grants program – will be summarized in this article by Arthur Niyazov, Project Manager and representative of the international organisation “Project HOPE” in Tajikistan. The Project “Assistance in reducing the burden of tuberculosis in the Republic of Tajikistan” aimed to improve access to diagnostic services, treatment adherence, and patient support for vulnerable groups (specifically, migrants and their families). The international organisation “Project HOPE”, as a sub-recipient of the Global Fund grant, is responsible for the implementation of two important components of the project: the Small Grants programme and the motivational support programme for Drug-Resistant TB patients. The Principal recipient of the grant is the Project Implementation Unit of the Republican Center of Protection of the Population from Tuberculosis. The Small Grants programme aims to improve access to quality services for the diagnosis and More…

Giving MDR-TB Patients a New Lease on Life

Giving MDR-TB Patients a New Lease on Life

Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) can be successfully treated today; however, the treatment course can take as long as two years and side effects can be severe if not appropriately addressed. The rate of MDR-TB treatment success is largely dependent on a patient’s socioeconomic circumstances as patients from marginalized groups are particularly vulnerable to dropping out of treatment. That is why ensuring patients’ adherence to TB treatment through a patient-centered approach that engages communities and civil society organizations, is critical to the success of MDR-TB treatment outcomes. Consistent with the principles of the WHO End TB Strategy, Project Hope’s interventions in Tajikistan (within the framework of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria TB grant) have provided a robust foundation for building a strong coalition in which communities and civil society organizations play a crucial role in combatting TB. Trained members of civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGO) have a unique capacity through patient education and psychosocial support to reach out to their communities to ensure that TB and MDR-TB patients make full recovery. One such patient for whom Project HOPE’s community-based initiatives were life-changing is Alisher Latipov. A family man from the Spitamen district in Tajikistan’s Sughd region, Alisher More…

‘The Disease Does not Discourage Me, It Makes Me Stronger’, Says a 28 Years Old Romanian Woman Living with TB

‘The Disease Does not Discourage Me, It Makes Me Stronger’, Says a 28 Years Old Romanian Woman Living with TB

An article recently published in the newsletter of the Romanian Pulmonology Institute “Marius Nasta”, edited in partnership with the Romanian Angel Appeal Fund, tells the story of a young woman diagnosed with MDR-TB. The patient, taken to the Municipal Hospital because of food poisoning, had a chest X-ray among other tests, and discovered that she had multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Contrary to her worst expectations, she found out that it would take more than three months in hospital and between six to eight months at home to treat the disease. She used to live in a village in Teleorman County, but had to work long hours at a real estate agency in Bucharest, occasionally even skipping meals. That is how her immune system weakened, as she assumes, and she caught TB. However, she decided not to be let down by her disease, but rather to gather all her strength for the sake of her father and sister, who together with our heroine went through the experience of losing their mother just five years before. “The disease does not discourage me, it makes me stronger”, she says, as she talks about the determination to change her life style, as well as the necessity More…

HIV/TB Patients in Eastern Europe at higher risk of death than in Western Europe

HIV/TB Patients in Eastern Europe at higher risk of death than in Western Europe

The Lancet HIV Journal published a recent research study conducted by Daria Podlekareva and her colleagues that shows an alarming situation for people living with HIV and diagnosed with tuberculosis in Eastern Europe. They have a risk of death nearly four-times higher than patients from Western Europe and Latin America.   As mentioned in the study the reasons for the high mortality rate in Eastern Europe are complex and multifactorial. However, an urgent action is needed to improve tuberculosis care for patients living with HIV in this region. For full text and more details, please click here: Tuberculosis-related mortality in people living with HIV in Europe and Latin America: an international cohort study 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 Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information More…

International course on clinical management of M(X)DR-TB for WHO Europe Region countries

International course on clinical management of M(X)DR-TB for WHO Europe Region countries

The WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Management of MDR-TB in Latvia announced an opportunity for clinicians and responsible for clinical managemnet of DR-TB to join their course. The main objective of the course is to update knowladge of the participants on the latest global development in M(X)DR-TB, as well as develop skills for M(X)DR-TB case management in their respective countries. The course will be available in Russian and English (according to schedule) and will last for 9 working days. For more details about the course please click here: International Advanced Course in clinical management of DR TB. Your completed application (click here: Application form WHO CC ) please send to the Tuberculosis Foundation of Latvia. E: info@ltbf.lv 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 Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use More…

A New Cost-Effectiveness Study of TB Care Models in Ukraine as an Advocacy Tool

A New Cost-Effectiveness Study of TB Care Models in Ukraine as an Advocacy Tool

‘Strengthening TB Control in Ukraine’ (STBCU) – a project funded by US Agency for International Development (USAID) – has released results of the pilot study of economic effectiveness and cost analysis of model of TB treatment in Ukraine. The study was conducted in Kriviy Rih (Dnipropetrovsk oblast). The goal of the study was to identify costs of organizational component of key TB treatment models and to evaluate the models’ influence on TB patients’ adherence to treatment and treatment effectiveness. The objective of the study was to illustrate comparative costs and effectiveness of ambulatory (out-patient) TB care versus in-patient TB care. The study used WHO protocol “Guidelines for cost and cost-effectiveness analysis of tuberculosis control”. The study identified two main organizational TB treatment models: Combined in-and out-patient TB treatment model Out-patient TB treatment model Taking into account that each of these models acts like a combination of approaches, the study has provided more detalisation about the facilities and players involved in TB treatment models. As a result, several organisational sub-models of TB treatment were identified that are seen differently in decision making and are combined in a “big picture” of complex TB care services. Three key players involved in these TB treatment models 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…

WHO develops an Action Framework for TB elimination in low-incidence countries

WHO develops an Action Framework for TB elimination in low-incidence countries

On 4 and 5 July 2014, Rome hosted a global consultation on the elimination of tuberculosis (TB) in low-incidence countries. The event, organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS) in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Health, aimed at adapting the recently adopted global strategy and targets for TB prevention, care and control after 2015 to the specific context and challenges of low-incidence countries. More than 30 low-incidence countries were represented at the meeting, together with experts from WHO, ERS, the European Centre for Diseases Control, the Global Fund, the International Organisation for Migration, various research institutes, industry and civil society, including the TB Europe Coalition. Low-incidence countries are those ones with less than 10 TB cases per 100.000 population, including the majority of EU’s countries, the US, Canada, Australia, Cuba and various countries in the Middle East. The TB epidemiology in these countries is characterised by low rate of transmission in general population, occasional outbreaks, high-degree of concentration among vulnerable groups, especially migrants, and majority of cases are the result of latent TB infections become active. During the two-day event, participants had the chance to input on a draft Action Framework that targets More…

What can be done to counter TB stigma?

What can be done to counter TB stigma?

What’s it like to have TB? David Bryden, the Stop TB Officer at Results Educational Fund, had the opportunity to speak with two  inspiring TB nurses while he was at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) Conference last year about their own experiences with TB and TB stigma. “It’s very difficult, because often you feel alone.”  Tania Monteiro, a nurse from Portugal, speaks about her own bout with TB and her 14-month treatment period and gives insight into where TB stigma comes from. She talks about why it is so important that TB patients not only receive treatment but are also given care, support and information about the disease.   “Stigma is one of the most important issues affecting TB management efforts.” Gini Williams, a TB nurse who runs a training programme for nurses through the International Council of Nurses, describes how crucial it is to train nurses to lessen stigma. Gini describes how deeply embedded TB stigma is, even among nurses, and how training is necessary to debunk this stigma.  

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