Working Groups and Task Forces
The Working Groups of the Partnership provide inputs on critical strategic issues for TB globally, based on which the board takes decisions. One of the strategic goals of the Partnership is to strengthen support for the working groups and to facilitate collaboration between them. The Partnership identifies opportunities and gaps for new partners to engage in Working Groups through ongoing and regular dialogue. There are seven different working groups.
Global Drug-resistant TB Initiative
This working group serves as a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary platform organizing and coordinating the efforts of stakeholders to assist countries to build capacity for programmatic management of DR-TB in the public and private sector. The aim is to ensure universal access to care and appropriate treatment for all DR-TB patients. The group mobilizes resources and undertake activities to ensure a holistic, quality-assured, patient-centred approach for all DR-TB patients within existing TB care structures as well as through innovative new partnerships in priority countries.
TB Infection Control Subgroup
The mission of the TB Infection Control sub group is to reduce the transmission of TB in health care and congregate settings, e.g., prisons, nursing homes, military compounds, refugee settlements with special attention to HIV prevalent settings and the emerging MDR and XDR TB context, through the development, implementation, and evaluation of TB infection control policies and strategies.
TB/HIV Working Group
The TB/HIV Working Group, set up in 2001, aims to coordinate, monitor, advise, collect and share information around the global response to the HIV associated TB epidemic. The HIV pandemic presents a massive challenge to the global control of TB at all levels. Globally, TB is also the commonest presenting illness among people living with HIV (PLHIV) both before and after receiving antiretroviral therapy. The Working Group developed a core set of policy and program guidance based on the best available evidence to reduce the impact of the TB and HIV epidemics (Interim policy on collaborative TB/HIV activities, 2004 subsequently updated to the WHO Policy on collaborative TB/HIV activities).
Global Laboratory Initiative
The Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI) is a network of international partners dedicated to accelerating and expanding access to quality assured laboratory services in response to the diagnostic challenges of TB, notably HIV-associated and drug-resistant TB. The GLI provides a focus for TB within the framework of a multi-faceted yet integrated approach to laboratory capacity strengthening.
Childhood TB sub-group of the DOTS Expansion Working group
The Childhood TB sub- group works with the objective to promote research, policy development, the formulation and implementation of guidelines, the mobilization of human and financial resources, and collaboration with partners working in relevant fields (including maternal and child health, the extended programme on immunization, and HIV) to achieve the goal of decreased childhood TB mortality and morbidity.
The Public-Private Mix sub-group
The Subgroup on Public-Private Mix for TB care and control was established by the Stop TB Partnership's DOTS Expansion Working Group to help develop global policy on PPM and assist countries to develop and implement national policies and guidelines to engage all care providers.
Working Group on New TB Diagnostics
The New Diagnostics Working Group (NDWG) focuses on promoting development and adoption of new and modified diagnostic products. The group has contributed significantly to the advances in the field of TB diagnostics. Promising technologies have been screened and a series of new product developments initiated, supported, subjected to field trials and ultimately endorsed by WHO for roll-out in endemic settings.
The group is working on a scientific blueprint for the development of TB diagnostics. This publication is intended to facilitate coordination and collaboration across the diagnostic research and development landscape. It provides a framework to guide all those involved in diagnostic development through the different phases of the development value chain - from the discovery of new techniques and tools through to their delivery and implementation in high-endemic countries.
Working Group on New TB Drugs
The Working Group on New Drugs (WGND) has a mandate to accelerate the development of effective and affordable new therapies for TB. It acts as a forum to facilitate global collaborations and joint projects for the development of new TB drugs. To eradicate TB in the 21st century, a continued multi-year worldwide commitment, research and vigilance is important to ensure a consistent pipeline of new antimicrobials. With its diverse membership, including representatives of public and private sector, academic laboratories, the industry as well as regulators, representatives of affected communities and those in a position to provide funding and support, the working group remains a unique mechanism for ensuring a consistent pipeline of drug candidates.
Working Group on New TB Vaccines
The purpose of the Working Group on New TB Vaccines is to facilitate the development of new, more effective TB vaccine by promoting collaboration and coordination amongst multiple stakeholders. The Working Group serves as the mechanism of exchange and dialogue between the Stop TB Partnership and the research community, provides a forum to discuss challenges to TB vaccine development and identify solutions, and to build consensus on key issues and questions related to TB vaccine research and development.
TB and Human Rights Task Force
The aim of the TB and Human Rights Task Force is to protect and promote human rights, in pursuit of universal access to TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The purpose of the Task Force is to develop a joint WHO, UNAIDS and Stop TB Partnership policy framework for a rights-based approach to Stop TB so as to advance health, development and effective TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The Task Force is composed of major stakeholders constituencies from affected communities and risk groups, UN agencies, human rights and civil society organizations, health and human rights experts and development partners.
Bi-Annual Bulletin of the Working groups
The Operational Strategy of the Stop TB Partnership 2013-2015 mandates the Secretariat to strengthen support to the Working Groups and facilitate collaboration among them. As part of this effort, it encourages the need to standardize the way that Working Groups report, interact and communicate with the Secretariat, the Coordinating Board and Board Committees, including the use of harmonized key performance indicators. The development of the Standard Operating Procedures for all Working Groups has been completed and approved by the Executive Committee on the 13 March 2015 and is currently being implemented by the Working Groups.
Working Groups are required to proactively communicate with other parts of the Stop TB Partnership. In particular Working Groups must ensure regular updates are provided to Partnership Secretariat regarding their activities and upcoming events. The Partnership is responsible for supporting entities of the Stop TB Partnership which includes oversight, strategic guidance, communications and advocacy support and financial assistance where appropriate and available.
One of the tools for supporting communication is the bi-annual bulletin highlighting the progress of the Working Groups and informing on upcoming activities.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Stop TB Partnership Working Groups
The Stop TB Partnership has undergone an extensive process to clarify its role, strategic priorities, and operating model in developing its 2013-15 Operational Strategy. As part of this process the Working Groups have been highlighted as critical convening bodies for partners to coordinate and harmonize activities towards the achievement of the Global Plan, and to execute tasks that require collective effort.
However, the Coordinating Board, Executive Committee, Secretariat and Working Group members have identified challenges that are limiting how effectively the Working Groups fulfil this role. To address the challenges, the Operational Strategy of the Stop TB Partnership 2013-2015 mandates the Secretariat to strengthen support to the Working Groups, including through standardizing Working Groups reporting to, interactions and communications with the Secretariat, the Coordinating Board and Board Committees, and the use of harmonized key performance indicators. SOPs were identified by the Executive Committee as an important means to achieve this, and the Stop TB Partnership Secretariat has supported an extensive process to develop them.