The Tuberculosis Initiative (Millenium Villages Project, Columbia University, New York, USA).
Part of an integrated health effort that includes HIV/AIDS and Malaria, the Tuberculosis initiative will reach several targets:
- Implement WHO and IUATLD recommended guidelines for TB detection and treatment at the village level. This implies a collaboration between the TB initiative and the National TB programs in each of the 10 sub-Saharan countries in order to synchronize TB interventions with the local recommendations
- Collaborate with the HIV/AIDS initiative to efficiently tackle TB/HIV co-infection, as recommended by the latest Global Plan to Stop TB. This includes providing counseling and free HIV test for TB patients, as well as recommending a TB screening for HIV patients (continued…).
- (Collaborate with the Nutrition initiative and integrate nutrition-based incentives to raise both compliance to treatment and cure rates. Those could include recently described vitamin D supplements to increase cure rates or free meals as incentives for patients to remain on treatment for the last 4 months, when the TB symptoms have faded.
- Address the issue of Multi-Drug Resistance Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in countries where appropriate. Drug Susceptibility Testing could be carried out at district laboratories using either solid culture, or the new inexpensive Line Probe Assays, manufactured in India.
- Set-up at least one district laboratory per country and train technicians for culture of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as well as molecular biology technique such as PCR for rapid detection of TB and MDR-TB. This implies careful planning with the National TB program in each country to determine ideal central location for the district laboratory that integrates existing infrastructures, road grids as well as TB prevalence in the different regions of the country.
- Work in collaboration with WHO and the Foundation for the Innovative New Diagnostics of TB (FIND) to implement new potential point-of-care diagnostic tests for TB at the village level and investigate needed resources and potential bottlenecks to implementation;
- Work in collaboration with the National TB Program in each country to produce manuals in French and English around TB interventions both at the village level and nationwide,)