The U.S. Government has released the “National Action Plan for Combating MDR-TB” in order to address the leading infectious cause of death in the world. The goals of the five-year National Action Plan (NAP) are to:
- Strengthen domestic capacity to combat MDR-TB
- Improve international capacity and collaboration to combat MDR-TB
- Acceleratebasciand applied research and development to combat MDR-TB
The USAID TB Care II project supports innovative and evidence-based interventions in many high-TB-burden countries and regions across the globe. Specifically, USAID and implementing partners focus their efforts on increasing demand for quality health services for the treatment of TB, scaling up access to TB diagnostics and laboratories, improving the quality of supervision, and alleviating human resource crises by building the capacity of health workers.This project supports global and national efforts to operationalize the NAP objectives in the 10 highest MDR-TB burden countries with over 63% of the Drug-Resistant (DR)-TB burden: Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, and Ukraine.In conjunction with partners such as Ministries of Health, national laboratories, academic institutions, existing national TB control programs, the private sector, and local communities, the TB Care II project made some significant contributions towards the NAP targets in 2017:
- Support to the National Health Department in South Africa to scale up the use of GeneXpert, a rapid and simple-to-use molecular test for TB
- Technical assistance provided to over 16 countries worldwide to expand and strengthen national MDR-TB care and treatment capacity to optimize the use of current and novel regimens
- mHealth tools elaborated to support recording and reporting of MDR-TB treatment adverse events by healthcare providers
- The launch of the MDR-TB ancillary care package in 2017 in four NAP countries to help TB programs improve MDR-TB patient-centered services, such as nutrition support, transport vouchers, and psychosocial services
- Initial discussions on developing a package covering management of disabilities among DR patients
- Scale-up of an innovative Finding TB Cases Actively, separating safety, and Treating Effectively. (FAST) strategy for preventing TB and DR TB transmission in healthcare settings in South Africa, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Swaziland, among others.
- Policy-level discussions initiated on introducing a comprehensive package of infection prevention and control interventions including FAST, upper-room ultraviolet germicidal(UVG), and a healthcare worker TB surveillance program in India.
Effectively addressing and eliminating TB and MDR-TB requires a full commitment from project implementers and stakeholders from every level. Research-driven results such as these reflect this ongoing commitment.