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Tuberculosis Department 2020 Highlights

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Contribute to the Elimination of Tuberculosis in Africa (CETA) Project

Kick-off meeting and overview

The CETA project aims to contribute to the elimination of tuberculosis (TB) in Africa by 2035. The kick-off meeting took place virtually on 30 July 2020, with the eight national tuberculosis programme managers and several partners (including Alliance Côte d'Ivoire, DRAF TB, Global Fund, WHO Global TB Programme, WHO TDR).

The project supports national tuberculosis programmes in eight countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea, Central African Republic, Niger, Senegal and Togo) with TB screening and prevention, improving healthcare delivery, and strengthening governance. The project works to create a network of African experts who support each other and have ongoing access to the expertise of The Union, through workshops, courses, conferences and online resources to continue to improve the care offered to people with or at risk of TB. This project is financed by The Agence Française de Développement.

Contact investigation

The first approach of CETA project aims to improve TB screening and prevention with a particular focus on improving access to care for vulnerable populations, such as people living with HIV and children under 5 years. Using contact investigation to help with the early detection of active TB, allowing those diagnosed to be treated quickly, and anyone in close contact to be given preventive therapy to stop the spread of the disease.

In 2020, 150 Basic Management Units (BMUs) were identified across the eight countries and 415 nurses and community health workers were trained. Funds were allocated for data collection tools, for home visits for transportation costs and for the supervision of the BMUs.

Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Child and Adolescent Tuberculosis Centre for Excellence (COE)

The COE is a virtual regional platform established in 2019 by The Union in collaboration with CDC-Global TB Branch, following a regional stakeholder meeting convened in Kampala, Uganda. The overall goal of the COE is to pursue the bold vision of the Childhood TB Roadmap by empowering national leadership, bridging the policy-practice gap, and fostering partnerships across the region to improve and expand interventions to end child and adolescent TB by providing a platform for sharing best practices and technical knowledge for solving common challenges for child and adolescent TB service provision in the region.

It is coordinated and based in The Union Uganda Country Office. The founding member countries are Ethiopia, Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The COE has an Advisory Committee that consists of representatives from Baylor College of Medicine, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), Stop TB Partnership, Unitaid, USAID, the World Health Organization (WHO), WHO African Regional Office,  civil society, and Dr Jeffrey Starke (Texas Children's Hospital) and Dr. Anneke Hesseling (Desmond Tutu Centre) as individual members.

Activities carried out in 2020:

  1. COE Member country webinar series: These webinars were aimed at promoting south-to-south sharing of country experiences, disseminate best practices, and facilitate information sharing on lessons learned and the latest child and adolescent TB management and care guidance with agreed-upon topics by member countries. Two webinars were held:
  • Programmatic management of paediatric and adolescent TB in the initial COVID-19 response,
  • Best practices for a functioning national child and adolescent TB Technical Working Group; Maintaining and strengthening the group
  1. COE Advisory Committee meeting: A meeting was held on 5 July 2020 to discuss and develop virtual capacity building approaches and concepts for child and adolescent TB, and discuss relevant webinar topics for COE member countries. This meeting was attended by 11 out of the 13 Advisory Committee member organisations.
  2. Child and adolescent TB virtual country training programme: This activity aimed to support member countries to develop and implement child and adolescent TB capacity-building strategies that target TB practitioners at the national, subnational, and facility levels.
  3. COE Symposium submission: The COE presented its symposium titled (SP-30) Towards a TB-free childhood: best practices to find, cure and prevent TB in children in Africa at the 51st Union World Conference on Lung Health. The session was attended by 199 participants, including paediatricians, clinicians, COE stakeholders, Ministry of Health and NTPs staff and implementing partners working in TB control.
  4. Conduct an assessment of Childhood TB Policy & Governance in member countries participating in the Sub-Saharan Africa Child & Adolescent TB Centre of Excellence: Protocol to conduct this assessment was finalised by The Union and CDC.