South Korean partners come together at the Re-imagining TB initiative’s first Collaboration Workshop

South Korean partners come together at the Re-imagining TB Care initiative’s first Collaboration Workshop to leverage their strength in R&D and health technologies for TB services

December 13, 2022 – The Korea International Cooperation Agency’s (KOICA) Global Disease Eradication Fund (GDEF), the Stop TB Partnership, the RIGHT Foundation, and the Stop TB Partnership Korea, as part of the Re-imagining TB Care initiative’s aim to improve and increase decentralized, integrated, and people-centered services in tuberculosis (TB) affected countries, convened the first Collaboration (Collab) Workshop on December 2 in Seoul, South Korea.

Nearly 80 South Korean academic/research institutions, civil society, developers (multinationals, small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), start-ups, etc.), non-governmental organizations, private investors (impact investors, venture capitalists, etc.), and technical partners gathered to discuss the challenges and opportunities related to the: 

  •  TB status and response in South Korea and globally;
  • South Korean research and development (R&D) funding and landscape for TB and global health; and
  • Accelerating the roll-out (from pilot to routine use) of TB innovations in TB affected countries.

Hon. Hyun Young Shin and Hon. Min Seok Kim from the National Assembly, Ms. Youn Soo Lee, Director General, Climate Crisis and Pandemic Response at KOICA, Mr. Rouslan Kats, Head of Political, Economic, and Public Affairs at the Embassy of Canada to the Republic of Korea, and Dr. Hani Kim, Executive Director of the RIGHT Foundation were some of the high-level speakers who attended the Collab Workshop and emphasized the importance and value of ending TB by 2030 and the critical role of TB innovations in achieving this goal.

Ms. Tae Eun Kim, Humanitarian Affairs Representative at Médecins Sans Frontières Korea, presented on why it is critical that TB affected people and communities are at the center of the TB response in the development, commercialization, and introduction of TB innovations.

Dr. Ho Joon Sohn, Associate Professor at Seoul National University’s School of Medicine and Dr. Hoon Sang Lee, Chief Strategy Officer at the RIGHT Foundation, presented what can and needs to be done to further catalyze South Korea's engagement in supporting TB innovations. 

Dr. Amera Khan, Technical Officer, TB REACH at the Stop TB Partnership, and Mr. Andrew Codlin, Director of Research and Monitoring and Evaluation at the Friends for International TB Relief, presented their hands-on experiences in rolling-out TB innovations in TB affected countries and in Viet Nam, respectively.

 “I hope the Re-imagining TB Care initiative and the first Collab Workshop will serve as a platform and the first step for South Korea’s promising institutions and companies to join efforts as partners to bring the necessary services closer to where the TB affected people and communities are and their daily routine," said Ms. Youn Soo Lee, Director General, Climate Crisis and Pandemic Response at KOICA. “I also hope this initiative will contribute to strengthening the innovation ecosystem for TB and across diseases and ensure future generations live in a safer, healthier, and more equitable world,” she added.

 “I am proud of the Re-imagining TB Care initiative and our collaboration with our South Korean public and private sector partners on this important work. The Collab Workshops will be a series of events that the Stop TB Partnership and our partners will convene in the coming months to brainstorm and problem-solve with a broad spectrum of organizations and people that normally do not interact on specific thematic topics related to the initiative,” said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership. “I want to pay tribute to KOICA’s GDEF, the RIGHT Foundation, and the Stop TB Partnership Korea for co-organizing with us the first of many Collab Workshops that we hope will catalyze more interest, more engagement, and more ideas from new country- and global-level partners and stakeholders in moving TB services closer to where the TB affected people and communities are and to rapidly roll-out product innovations that will facilitate this shift,” she added.

At the Collab Workshop, the re-designed and updated Re-imagining TB Care website was launched, including the Innovations Sourcing Portal, which will serve as an equitable and inclusive platform to proactively and continuously identify potential developers, particularly SMEs and start-ups, including from TB affected countries, with product innovations that are aligned with the Re-imagining TB Care initiative’s vision, mission, and goals.

 “Time after time, the Stop TB Partnership is seeing that we are missing out on potential incremental and game-changing TB innovations or adjacent solutions because developers do not know or understand the TB and global health architecture, do not know how to cross the multiple “valleys of death” in the product development lifecycle stages, do not know how to access the necessary capital and funding, and because, simply put, they might not have existing relationships with the necessary country- and global-level stakeholders and partners,” said Ms. Jacqueline Huh, Head, External Affairs & Strategic Initiatives at the Stop TB Partnership. “While product innovations should be the means to an end and not the other way around, we are hoping the Innovation Sourcing Portal will be one way to provide the TB affected people, communities, and countries with every current and future available options to them that can help facilitate decentralized, integrated, and people-centered care," she added.