Tuberculosis (TB) is geographically heterogeneous, and geographic targeting can improve the impact of TB interventions. However, standard TB notification data may not sufficiently capture this heterogeneity. Better understanding of patient reporting patterns (discrepancies between residence and place of presentation) may improve our ability to use notifications to appropriately target interventions. Using demographic data and TB reports from Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation, we identified wards of high TB incidence and developed a TB transmission model. We calibrated the model to patient-level data from selected wards under four different reporting pattern assumptions and estimated the relative impact of targeted versus untargeted active case finding. Movement of individuals seeking TB diagnoses may substantially affect ward-level TB transmission. Better understanding of patient reporting patterns can improve estimates of the impact of targeted interventions in reducing TB incidence. Incorporating high-quality patient-level data is critical to optimizing TB interventions.

The Philippines has a population of over 90 million people and is one of the 22 highest TB burden countries in the world.To understand the economic cost of non-adherence to TB medicines due to loss to follow up and stock-outs in the Philippines, data were collected on the economic costs of non-adherence to TB medicines and a model was developed to show those costs under different scenarios.The model showed that as many as 1958 and 233 persons are likely to have died as a result of DS-TB and MDR-TB loss to follow up, respectively, and 588 persons are likely to have died as a result of TB medicine stock outs. The related economic impact in each case is likely have been to be as much as US$72.2 million, US$13.4 million and US$21.0 million, respectively. The economic costs of non-adherence to TB medicines due to loss to follow-up and stock-outs represent a significant economic burden for the country and it is likely that the cost of addressing these problems would be much less than this burden and, therefore, a wise investment.

Despite efforts to find and treat TB, about four million cases were missed globally in 2017. Barriers to accessing health care, inadequate health-seeking behavior of the community, poor socioeconomic conditions, and stigma are major determinants of this gap. This is the first national stigma survey conducted in seven regions and two city administrations of Ethiopia. A total of 3463 participants (844 TB patients, 836 from their families, and 1783 from the general population) were enrolled for the study. More than a third of Ethiopians have high scores for TB-related stigma, which were associated with educational status, poverty, and lack of awareness about TB. Stigma matters in TB prevention, care, and treatment and warrants stigma reduction interventions.

To evaluate the utility of a volunteer health development army in conducting population screening for active tuberculosis (TB) in a rural community in southern Ethiopia, a population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in six kebeles (the lowest administrative units). All 24,517 adults in the study area had a symptom screen performed. Overall, 34 TB cases (6%) were identified by culture and/or Xpert, corresponding to a prevalence of 139 per 100,000 persons. This study demonstrated the capability of community health workers (volunteer and paid) to rapidly conduct a large-scale population TB screening evaluation and highlight the high yield of such a programme in detecting previously undiagnosed cases when combined with Xpert MTB/RIF testing. This could be a model to implement in other similar settings.

Tuberculosis (TB) elimination requires innovative approaches. The new Global Tuberculosis Network (GTN) aims to conduct research on key unmet therapeutic and diagnostic needs in the field of TB elimination using multidisciplinary, multisectorial approaches. The TB Pharmacology section within the new GTN aims to detect and study the current knowledge gaps, test potential solutions using human pharmacokinetics informed through preclinical infection systems, and return those findings to the bedside. Moreover, this approach would allow prospective identification and validation of optimal shorter therapeutic durations with new regimens. Optimized treatment using available and repurposed drugs may have an increased impact when prioritizing a person-centered approach and acknowledge the importance of age, gender, comorbidities, and both social and programmatic environments. In this viewpoint article, we present an in-depth discussion on how TB pharmacology and the related strategies will contribute to TB elimination.

Quality of tuberculosis (TB) microscopy diagnosis is not a guarantee despite implementation of external quality assurance (EQA) services in all laboratories of health facilities. Hence, we aimed at evaluating the technical quality and the findings of sputum smear microscopy for acid fast bacilli (AFB) at health centers in Hararge Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia. Of the total 55 health center laboratories assessed during the study period (July 2014-July 2015), 20 (36.4%) had major technical errors; 13 (23.6%) had 15 false negative results and 17 (30.9%) had 22 false positive results. The quality of AFB smear microscopy reading and smearing was low in most of the laboratories of the health centers. Therefore, it is essential to strength the EQA program through building the capacity of laboratory professionals.

Our objective was to assess the knowledge of health professionals on Xpert MTB/RIF assay and associated factors in detecting TB/TB drug resistance. An institution based cross–sectional study was conducted from April 4 to June 5, 2015, in Addis Ababa, that involved 209 healthcare providers working in TB clinics.The overall magnitude of knowledge of healthcare workers on Xpert was found to be low. Health workers above age 35 years and those who had read the guidelines on Xpert had greater knowledge of Xpert. Distribution of the national guidelines on Xpert and assigning experienced clinicians to TB DOTs clinics are recommended.

This study compared the yield of TB among contacts of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) index cases with that of drug-sensitive TB (DS-TB) index cases in a program setting. The yield of TB among contacts of MDR-TB and DS-TB using GeneXpert was high as compared to population-level prevalence. The likelihood of diagnosing RR (Rifampicin Resistant)-TB among contacts of MDR-TB index cases is higher in comparison with contacts of DS-TB index cases. The use of GeneXpert in DS TB contact investigation has an added advantage of diagnosing RR cases in contrast to using the nationally recommended AFB microscopy for DS TB contact investigation.

In 2011 the Help Ethiopia Address the Low TB Performance (HEAL TB) Project used WHO or national TB indicators as standards of care (SOC) for baseline assessment, progress monitoring, gap identification, assessment of health workers’ capacity-building needs, and data quality assurance. In this analysis we present results from 10 zones (of 28) in which 1,165 health facilities were supported from 2011 through 2015. The improvement in the median composite score of 13 selected major indicators (out of 22) over four years was significant. The proportion of health facilities with 100% data accuracy for all forms of TB was 55.1% at baseline and reached 96.5%. In terms of program performance, the TB cure rate improved from 71% to 91.1%, while the treatment success rate increased from 88% to 95.3%. In the laboratory area, where there was previously no external quality assurance (EQA) for sputum microscopy, 1,165 health facilities now have quarterly EQA, and 96.1% of the facilities achieved a ≥ 95% concordance rate in blinded rechecking. The SOC approach for supervision was effective for measuring progress, enhancing quality of services, identifying capacity needs, and serving as a mentorship and an operational research tool.

TB data for 2015 were combined with cost data using a simple type of cost-benefit analysis in a decision tree model to show the economic burden under different scenarios. In Indonesia, there were an estimated 1, 017,378 new active TB cases in 2015, including multidrug-resistant TB. It is estimated that 417,976 of these cases would be treated and cured, 160,830 would be unsuccessfully treated and would die, 131,571 would be untreated and would achieve cure spontaneously, and 307,000 would be untreated and would die. The total economic burden related to treated and untreated cases would be approximately US$6.9 billion. Loss of productivity due to premature death would be by far the largest element, comprising US$6.0 billion (discounted), which represents 86.6% of the total cost. Loss of productivity due to illness would be US$700 million (10.1%), provider medical costs US$156 million (2.2%), and direct non-medical costs incurred by patients and their households US$74 million (1.1%). The economic burden of TB in Indonesia is extremely high. Detecting and treating more cases would result not only in major reductions in suffering but also in economic savings to society.


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