7 May 2014 - Geneva, Switzerland - The Stop TB Partnership strongly welcomes a pledge of $60.4 million by UNITAID for grants that will greatly improve the fight against multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).
"This support from UNITAID will ensure that people in some of the world's poorest countries will receive the most effective treatment for their disease," said Dr Salmaan Keshavjee, senior TB specialist with Partners in Health (PIH), the non-governmental organization to whom the grant is being given. "This will not only save lives and reduce transmission of TB in families and communities, but in learning from the experience, we will be able to improve treatments for patients in the future." Dr Keshavjee is also Director, Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change, Harvard Medical School.
PIH will work in collaboration with Médicins Sans Frontièrs (MSF) and Interactive Research & Development (IRD). The grant funding will cover 17 countries and aims to accelerate uptake of the newly-released MDR-TB drugs bedaquiline and delamanid. The work will take place in the countries, working with the National TB Programmes and initiatives actively enrolling patients. The efforts are also expected to strengthen the market for MDR-TB drugs, thereby increasing accessibility to existing and new drugs.
UNITAID is also giving a further $100 million that will aid in the access to more affordable drugs in hepatitis C, and a malaria prevention treatment programme to children in the Sahel region of Africa which will save an estimated 50,000 lives.
For the full statement from UNITAID, please see here.