NEWS ALERT - 23 January 2024 l Geneva, Switzerland
2024 has begun, and everyone is already back at work, leaving behind the end-of-2023 celebrations. We are looking ahead with hope and ambition and also maybe a bit of concern to what 2024 will bring to us! I dare to predict that 2024 will be the best year yet for TB response!
We at Stop TB Partnership have a lot of reasons to believe this.
We kick off the year with the first meeting after the 2023 UN HLM on TB, with the Stop TB Partnership Board gathering in Brasilia, Brazil from 6th to 8th February. This will be our largest-ever Board meeting with the highest-ever representation. The Board meeting will be preceded by the High-Level Event of the Brazilian Presidency, launching the Elimination Program for TB and other socially determined diseases. This event sets the path for a comprehensive government approach to improve people's health under the vision and leadership of H. E. Lula da Silva, President of Brazil. As of now, our Board members will include the Ministers of Health of Brazil, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Philippines, the African Union Commissioner for Health as well as our special high level guests the First Lady of Malawi, the Minister of Health of Kenya, Mozambique and Peru. The Board will feature addresses from WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, representatives from civil society and TB survivors, parliamentarians from Brazil and other countries, and a video statement by the renowned football player Thiago Silva, a TB survivor and champion. On February 5th, 2024, the Stop TB Partnership Brazil, along with partner CSOs and champions, will host an event that will honor key and vulnerable populations. For more details and a draft agenda of the Board, click here.
We will utilize the Board meeting and its associated events to unveil the World TB Day 2024 campaign toolkit and website (you can find the announcement of the 2024 theme here). Additionally, we will introduce the primary slogan and recommended social media engagement for the Valentine's Day for TB campaign.
As our primary focus is following up on the UN HLM on TB 2023, we will initiate intensive efforts to enhance knowledge and awareness regarding the Political Declaration (you can find the link to the Political Declaration here and an abridged version here), its targets, and commitments.
We are committed to further strengthening our Coalition of Leaders to End TB, which was launched in New York in September 2023 (for additional details, click here). Our goal is to secure at least 2 more Heads of State or Government as champions this year.
All numeric targets were unpacked per country and we are preparing country by country correspondence to the highest-level stakeholders on these targets and commitments. In the same time, together with our regional and national partners, Challenge Facility for Civil Society grantees and country programmes we will organize six regional meetings that will bring together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the advocacy efforts towards increasing awareness on the UNHLM TB commitments, TB pandemic and response, meaningful community engagement, domestic and innovative financing for implementation and research.
In 2024, the Stop TB Partnership aims to continue supporting the remarkable efforts of various country and global stakeholders and partners in advancing TB vaccines. Notably, there are 17 vaccines in the pipeline, with 5 vaccines in Phase 3 clinical trials. For more information on the TB vaccines pipeline, click here. We eagerly anticipate engaging in informative and forward-looking discussions with the TB and vaccine community, including civil society, communities, and the private sector, during the TB vaccine session at our Board meeting. We also look forward to collaborating with our partners from the Stop TB Partnership’s New Vaccine TB Working Group for the 7th Global TB Vaccine Forum later in the year. For more details about the event, click here.
We also believe that 2024 will demonstrate the fruits of the hard work and ambition displayed by national country programs in 2023. Our hope is that 2023 will surpass 2022 as a remarkable year for diagnosing and treating individuals with TB. In 2022, we saw a record-high TB notification of 7.5 million people, yet we still missed diagnosing more than 3 million individuals estimated to have contracted TB.
With increased ambition and substantial efforts dedicated to TB case identification, we anticipate that in 2023, at least 8.2 million people with TB were diagnosed and treated, marking a historic moment. We extend our sincere appreciation to the dedicated teams in Indonesia, India, and the Philippines, which have, so far, exceeded expectations by identifying and diagnosing their highest-ever numbers of people with TB. Formal and official data for all countries will be available in the WHO Global Report 2024.
In 2024, our goal should be to reach the 90% notification target, aiming to diagnose and treat more than 9 million individuals with TB. This will require the implementation of innovative screening and testing strategies, utilizing the latest technologies and active community engagement.
In 2024, numerous countries will initiate significant efforts to expand the use of 3HP treatment for TB prevention, thanks to recent price reductions secured by GDF. With funding from USAID, GDF will deliver 1.7 million adult 3HP treatments to 11 of the highest TB burden countries. Nearly 50 out of the 53 GDF priority countries will adopt BPaLM regimens for the treatment of DR-TB, and over 65 countries will procure pretomanid through GDF for use in BPaLM regimens. The number of high-income countries (HICs) sourcing TB products from GDF will continue to rise, bridging the inequities in HICs where many generic TB medicines, including pediatric and fixed-dose combination products, were previously unavailable.
A fixed-dose combination tablet will also become accessible for the 4-month rifapentine-based regimen for treating DS-TB, greatly facilitating its implementation.
In 2024, the use of 3HP for preventive TB treatment in children will become feasible, thanks to the launch of the first child-friendly, fixed-dose combination formulation, which can be procured through GDF. GDF will also initiate a competitive tender for nearly all the medicines it supplies in the third quarter. Furthermore, GDF will explore how its platform can be adapted to efficiently address access issues for other diseases.
The TB Procurement and Market-Shaping Action Team (TPMAT) has an ambitious 2024 work plan focused on ensuring alignment and coordination among multiple stakeholders, all working to ensure that the best products reach those in need as swiftly as possible.
In 2024, we will see more than 200 Challenge Facility for Civil Society grants deployed in 38 countries (with more intense support for Francophone Africa) working on several CRG intervention areas; CRG and Stigma Assessments and costed Action Plans; utilizing the new TB Key and Vulnerable Population Size Estimation tool and the Level and Human Rights Scorecard; advocacy, awareness and activism especially towards increasing domestic funding for TB and political leadership; OneImpact Community-led monitoring (CLM) for social accountability, capacity building and community empowerment, networking, coordination and partnerships, key and vulnerable population size estimations and legal and human rights scorecard. Following the Launch of “OneImpact Family”, at the Board countries will intensify OneImpact CLM scale up efforts in 36 countries, supported by regional workshops for enhanced accountability in TB and the UN Political Declaration on TB – as was called for in the Accountability Report of TB affected communities and civil society: Priorities to close the Deadly Divide.
The Introduction of the New Tools Project (iNTP) will also expand in 2024 to provide support to countries in adopting the latest screening and diagnostic innovations. These innovations include ultra-portable digital X-ray, CAD software, near-point-of-care molecular testing technologies, next-generation sequencing, diagnostics connectivity, and digital adherence and support technologies. We keep sharing experiences, lessons learned, and early impact using these exciting new technologies.
The Re-imagining TB Care (RTC) initiative, generously funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency’s (KOICA) Global Disease Eradication Fund, will continue to improve how business is done in TB and global health and support the provision of social health insurance (i.e. financial support and social protection) during TB care in Viet Nam, including the further digitalization of the country’s health management information system for TB and the use of digital-based solutions for TB affected people. The RTC initiative will empower community health workers and village health teams in Uganda with digital-based solutions to provide localized, integrated, and people-centered TB care. The initiative will also be empowering community health workers and village health teams in Uganda by equipping them with various digital-based solutions across the TB care journey to improve and increase the provision of localized (i.e., closer to where people are), integrated (for TB and across disease), and people-centered TB care (based on people’s needs, preferences, and circumstances, including their emotional, mental, and financial well-being).
The RTC initiative will continue to “connect” and bring together country and global stakeholders and partners through its website to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration opportunities, including identifying new innovators and innovations through the Innovations Sourcing Portal and Innovations Database (to be launched in Quarter 2/2024) and publishing funding opportunities for our stakeholders and partners through the Funding Opportunities Database.
TB REACH recorded an unprecedented response to the Wave 11 call for proposals (that temporarily crashed our servers) as we received almost 600 submissions demanding more than USD 220 million in funding requests and showing massive interest for this unique innovation platform. Final funding decisions will be announced in June. This year TB REACH will continue supporting partners in 10 countries to use new MTB antigen-specific skin tests and near-POC IGRAs that can be gamechangers for detecting TB infection and will be evaluating promising new diagnostic tests that can be used at point of care with non-sputum samples to generate evidence for policy change in multiple countries. Our collaboration with LSTM under the START4ALL project brings together seven countries to test how different combinations of new tools like urine LAM, portable CXR and AI, and approaches including pooling sputum can lead improved and faster diagnosis and treatment.
So... did we convince you that 2024 will be an amazing year?