“Wellness On Wheels” the mobile truck equipped with digital X-ray and GeneXpert was launched today in Ogun State – Nigeria. The Challenge TB-financed truck and equipment, will offer free TB testing services in communities and provide rapid testing for suspected TB cases, meaning people who are infected can be placed on treatment as quickly as possible.
Nigeria has the 4th highest burden of TB in the world and the highest in Africa. With 600,000 cases annually and only 100,500 detected in 2016, around 83% of the cases were missed and are in the community infecting those around them. The new truck will take diagnostic facilities directly to the people, where it is hoped it will help to find these missing cases and begin to turn the tide of the disease in the country.
You can now read about our successes and impact on the Challenge TB’s Medium page. New stories will be posted regularly, so follow us to stay up to date with how our work is helping those most in need across 23 countries.
Our latest story highlights how the introduction of new drugs and regimens in Kyrgyzstan is making a difference in the lives of four-year-old Ilias and his two-year-old sister Sumaya, who were diagnosed with DR-TB in February 2017.
Our second annual report gives details on our activities in each country, documents our successes, and reflects on the challenges we faced over the year. Challenge TB implements projects at the country, regional and international/global level with the majority of the program’s work being done through country-specific projects. As of September 30, 2016, there were a total of 21 country projects implemented in Year 2 under Challenge TB. In this report we also cover the Call to Action in India; finding the missing cases; and the childhood TB. You can download the full report here.
The only laboratory capable of cuture and drug susceptibility testing in Botswana was the National TB Reference Laboratory (NTRL), which until recently was mostly out of commission as the TB containment facility had not been functional for almost two years.
With technical support from Challenge TB, the Ministry of Health installed a new ventilation system and Challenge TB also financially supported the refurbishment of the NTRL containment facility.
The renovation was successfully completed in August 2016 and the laboratory became fully operational and resumed receiving and testing patient samples on the 1st September 2016. The laboratory was officially reopened by the US Ambassador to Botswana Mr Earl Miller and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Ms Shenaaz El-Halabi.
It is with great sadness that we announce that Pak Jan Voskens, physician and Country Director of KNCV in Indonesia, died on August 23, after falling ill a year ago. He was 64 years old.
Jan started working for KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation as a consultant in 1999. He advised many National TB programs (NTPs) on the design and implemention of TB control strategies. In 2001 he was responsible for setting up the KNCV country office in Indonesia which covers 11 provinces and is now the largest KNCV team outside the Netherlands. He led the Indonesian KNCV/Challenge TB office until his sudden illness in August 2015.
Throughout his career Jan had a strong international focus. After studying medicine in Leuven (Belgium) and Amsterdam he specialized in family and tropical health. For several years he worked as a physician and director of a hospital in Lesotho. In the early ’90s he began working for the Dutch Leprosy Foundation in Sulawesi, Indonesia, and was heavily involved in a joint project with KNCV on the introduction of the DOTS strategy in the country. He worked for the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) for three years, and received his Master’s Degree in Public Health in 1997. For many years, he taught a Master’s Course in Public Health at KIT. As a KNCV consultant, Jan supported NTPs and NGOs in countries such as Kenya, the Gambia, the Philippines, Laos, Botswana, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Jan was a highly renowned international expert and colleague. With over 30 years’ of experience in TB control, he brought a wealth of expertise. Moreover, he impressed us all with his personal approach and genuine engagement. He always put the interest of patients first and was happiest when he was working among them. With his expertise, compassion and unconditional dedication, Jan has saved many lives. Tragically, Jan, our colleague and friend, passed away much too soon.
At the recent National TB Conference, in Abuja, Nigeria, Challenge TB Director Dr. Maarten van Cleeff, described the challenges facing TB control in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as those being addressed in Nigeria: “Despite the obvious synergies of tackling both diseases, HIV/AIDS and TB in the 1990s, we were still talking about collaboration. But now we recognize that collaboration is not enough – we actually need integration of services.”
Challenge TB is supporting activities in 15 states to help to expand TB services, especially diagnostic and treatment in high-population density areas and underserved areas. The government is reactivating 10,000 PHC and Challenge TB and other partners will collaborate with the National Primary Health Care Agency to ensure the effective integration of TB and HIV services in the process.
Dr van Cleeff said: “We all should remain creative and work in synergy. Not just governments, but everyone has a role to play here – the private hospitals, NGOs and faith-based organizations, traditional healers, the community and private companies.”
Mrs. Nora Rodriguez fought bravely to beat Multidrug-resistant TB and, despite suffering from severe side effects from the treatment, was a tireless advocate for TB patients in the US. A passionate fourth grade teacher, she saw herself forced to leave the profession she loved after being diagnosed but never gave up hope of recovery and returning to teaching once she finished her treatment. Nora died in her sleep on March 26 2016, less than two weeks away from finishing her treatment and leaves behind a loving family and many friends.
While 43 million lives have been saved since 2000, the battle against Tuberculosis (TB) goes on. TB continues to kill more than 4,000 people a day, more than half a million children become ill with TB each year, and approximately 10 million children are orphaned every year because of TB.
Challenge TB is working hard to save lives and prevent catastrophic consequences to patients, their families, and their communities.
Read about our achievements in the first quarter of our second year of work. This report provides a technical update on the progress we made between October-December 2015.
You can download the full report from our reports page here.
On the 20th December 2015 the White House released a national action plan for combating multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). The plan states that the United States will work domestically and internationally to contribute to the prevention, detection, and control of MDR-TB in an effort to avert TB-associated morbidity and mortality and support a shared global vision of a world free of TB.
The plan includes the following 3 goals as well as objectives and selected milestones:
You can read the full plan here.
The country director for Challenge TB Nigeria appeared on the most popular radio program in Nigeria to talk about TB in order to create awareness. Brekete Family (The Voice of the Voiceless), is a radio talk magazine program which is aired live every week day. Dr. Mustapha Gidado explained the symptoms of TB and informed the listeners that diagnosis and treatment are free. He also mentioned the recently launched hotline in Nigeria. The hotline is designed to create awareness on TB and to provide basic information on TB signs and symptoms. You can watch the show here.