Updated on 3 May 2012
Our main grant giving initiative, TB REACH, supports the development of innovative approaches to case detection in some of the poorest areas of the world. If you are interested in TB REACH grants, I suggested checking out our website at www.stoptb.org. We also invite and encourage corporations to innovate in new technologies, for example mobile health, to that hold the promise of revolutionizing TB care and control. Apart from directly TB related work, the Stop TB Partnership also counts on and benefits of the strategic input of its Corporate Sector Constituency of 130 private sector organizations and businesses to advance its vision of a world free of TB. These private sector partners form a substantial basis for the Partnership's work, ranging from shaping governance issues with private sector thinking, to contributing project related expertise, or donations.
What are the major lacking points as far as TB controlling programme in India is concerned? How can we overcome these hindrances?
A huge challenge for India is to scale up public-private approaches in TB care delivery. This is needed to achieve universal access, and for early diagnosis and prompt treatment of infectious patients in order to have an impact on transmission. It is estimated that about 30% of TB patients in India remain outside the national programme - many of them, including the poor, access care from the private sector which involves catastrophic out-of-pocket expenses and does not usually guarantee cure. In addition, India needs to rapidly scale-up diagnosis and treatment of drug-resistant TB, which is now even more feasible due to the availability of new generation rapid molecular diagnostics tests.
What kind of collaboration is being done by Stop TB Partnership with the Indian govt.? How can the Indian research community and pharmaceutical/ biotechnology industry play a role in this?
India is very much on the agenda for us at the moment. In late August we joined a meeting in Bangalore on the development of new diagnostics. In the same month we organized, with the government, meetings to discuss global TB drug shortages and to launch a new guide on the research needed to improve the quality and reach of TB care.
One of the challenges set out to researchers and manufacturers was to develop a rapid, low tech test that can diagnose TB in minutes. In addition, there is a looming shortage of manufactures qualified to produce quality TB drugs. With many countries poised to step up their efforts to treat TB, India's generic drug manufacturers could fill the gap and help reduce price.