Today’s guest blog comes from Agnes Gebhard, M.D., Public Health Specialist and Senior Consultant at KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation.
For many diseases, it’s not enough to simply make an effective treatment available. It’s crucial to ensure that the right treatment gets to the right person at the right time. Low- and middle-income countries face daunting challenges in this regard, including drug shortages, poor-quality medicines and poor prescribing practices. That’s certainly true of tuberculosis (TB).
KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership just announced two exciting new global health projects with the same goal—to improve access to quality-assured medicine for people with tuberculosis, including the multidrug-resistant kind.
These new projects build upon the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership’s commitment to drug quality assurance—and data-driven solutions—and take aim at the problem from two distinct angles.
The first project aims to strengthen TB drug supply management at the country level. If data on drug stocks and consumption are imprecise and supplies are not efficiently managed, drug supplies can run out, which can prove fatal to people living with TB. But with the right skills and tools, country managers have access to accurate information and can ensure a smooth, predictable supply of TB medicines. KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation is leading this effort in partnership with Management Sciences for Health and local TB authorities in 10 countries to provide the knowledge and tools necessary to manage their drug supplies more efficiently.
The second project focuses on India, which has the highest number of estimated MDR-TB cases in the world. The private sector is often the first point of care for people with TB symptoms, but lack of effective partnerships and access to the latest diagnostics and treatment mean that private-sector patients may not be recognized and treated appropriately.
This project will zero in on Chennai, a high-TB-burden city in southeastern India. A partnership across private providers, hospitals, patients, community groups and the government is collaborating to design and implement a model of care with free, early access to rapid new diagnostics, quality drugs and treatment support to ensure people have the best chance of cure. This project is led by KNCV and India-based REACH in tandem with local government in Chennai.
Ineffective treatment is hurting the global fight against TB. We’re thrilled to begin work on these data-driven
projects to improve access to high-quality TB drugs and look forward to sharing updates as they progress.