REACH Ethiopia sets the bar high as winner of this year's Stop TB Partnership Kochon Prize

28 October 2014 - Barcelona, Spain - The 2014 Kochon Prize prize was awarded to REACH Ethiopia today at the Global TB Symposium, an annual event at the 45th World Conference of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. The team are a small locally registered entity who successfully implemented a TB REACH project in the Sidama zone of Ethiopia.

REACH Ethiopia made a concerted effort to engage community members, councils, other stakeholders, TB programmes, former TB patients and religious and community leaders to increase awareness about the disease as well as expanding availability of TB services at the community level. TB case finding nearly doubled in the first nine months of the initiative. Focussing on the elderly and disabled, women and children, the project has not only brought the three million people living in Sidama Zone within the healthcare system, but the team turned TB into a disease that can be talked about out loud.

"Our innovative community-based approach has demonstrated that making TB diagnostics and treatment accessible at the community level increases the detection of cases, enhances treatment completion and reduces the stigma associated with the disease. We hope our experience will soon be replicated all over the country and beyond," said Dr Daniel Datiko from REACH Ethiopia on receiving the prestigious award.

Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership commending REACH Ethiopia’s win said, "In this project, health workers on motorbikes and community health workers were able to expand TB services to 19 under-served districts. The results were staggering and REACH Ethiopia demonstrated that it is not impossible with will and determination to increase access to those who need it the most - the elderly and disabled, women and children. We are delighted to award the prize to a team that will be able to use the funds to continue the good work that has been started."

The US$ 65 000 Kochon Prize has been awarded annually for the past six years to persons, institutions or organizations that have made a highly significant contribution to combating TB, a disease that is curable but still causes the deaths of three people every minute.

The Prize is fully funded by the Kochon Foundation, which is located in the Republic of Korea. The Prize was established in 2006 in honour of the late Chairman Chong-Kun Lee, founder of both the Foundation and Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corporation in Korea.