Written by Kevin Wafula
The Stop TB Partnership’s Coordinating Board has approved US $27 million in new funding for partners implementing innovative projects that aim to find and treat people with tuberculosis (TB).
The funding from the Partnership’s TB REACH initiative will support a third wave of 37 new projects and the continuation of 13 projects from the previous wave of funding. The projects were selected on a competitive basis from more than 320 applications.
Launched in 2010 with a US$ 120 million grant from the Canadian International Development Agency, TB REACH provides grants of up to US$ 1 million to innovative projects that aim to find and treat people with TB in poor and vulnerable populations. Grantees have implemented a range of ground-breaking approaches, including the use of mobile phones, financial incentives and horseback riders, to increase the number of people accessing quality TB care.
The latest wave of funding will invest a total of US$ 16 million across 30 projects in Africa, the region which now has more TB deaths than any other in the world. Three of the projects will focus on tackling TB in mining communities, one of the vulnerable groups chosen for special attention in wave three.
TB REACH continues to purchase more Xpert MTB/RIF machines for use in multiple countries than any other single entity and will supply more than half a million test cartridges in this round of funding. The purchase of Xpert MTB/RIF diagnostic machines and cartridges is supported by a US $30 million grant from UNITAID.
“By harnessing our partners’ creativity and drive, TB REACH provides hope to the millions of people who go without quality TB care every year,” said Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership. “I am excited to see so many high quality projects in Africa and I hope that we can incubate the innovation needed to get the region back on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal for TB.”
Results presented last week at the World Conference on Lung Health on the first wave of TB REACH projects showed that the use of new technologies and approaches can significantly increase the number of people diagnosed and put on treatment.
Using a range of innovations, including mobile phone technology and the Xpert MTB/RIF diagnostic test, Stop TB Partners implementing the first 30 TB REACH projects achieved a twenty-fold acceleration in their ability to find people with TB.