As we celebrate World TB day today, March 24th 2013 there is much to be aware about as alot of gains and achievements in the fight against tuberculosis but this has to be maintained by countries so that we are not taken aback from where we came from. The World Bank’s efforts for this biggest killer of HIV/AIDS patient is commendable especially looking at what the East Africa Public Health Laboratory Networking project (EAPHLN) has been doing so far.
One of the WHO key pillars in TB control and this was revised recently is increasing uptake of new rapid diagnostics and associated laboratory strengthening for TB and drug resistance TB and new molecular technologies like GeneXpert play a bigger role as more diagnostic tools enter the market and this will assist in having quick diagnosis thereby bringing the burden down especially in the high burden countries like Kenya. the WHO diagnostics team has been pro active in ensuring new and faster methods of diagnosing all kinds of TB are being introduced and more research funds need to be directed towards this. The laboratory network being supported by the Bank through the EAPHLN has invested into some of these areas and quickly accelerated access and provision to some of these vital laboratory tests.
MDR-TB is still an issue for TB control and the Director General of WHO – Dr. Margaret Chan says it all ” We are treading water at a time when we desperately need to scale up our response to MDR-TB”. Finally the advance of the laboratories is key in TB control and use of advocacy tools like newsletters and bulletins tell the story in a different way to a wider audience. The project produces quarterly bulletins and information on the activities can viewed online ( link – www.eaphln-ecsahc.org/kenya). The theme for World TB day – Stop TB in my life time is perfect as we approach the deadline for the 2015 target for MDG’s in TB control. Miriam’s blog captures the spirit of this journey and the video showcases some of this early achievements within Kenya and the greater East Africa under the innovative program!!