05 November 2014 - Geneva - The development of the Global Plan to Stop TB 2016-2020 continued to gather momentum in Barcelona as the Task Force met for the second time on 29 October during the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health. Chaired by Dr Paula Fujiwara, Scientific Director for the Union, the task force is comprised of partners from TB-Mac/LSHTM, IHME, USAID, Portland VA Medical Center, Brazil's Country Programme representative, RESULTS UK, UNSGO/UNAIDS, Global Coalition of TB Activists, WHO's Global TB Programme and the Stop TB Partnership Secretariat reached a consensus on key features of the next Global Plan.
Since its creation in 2001, the Stop TB Partnership has issued five and ten-year global plans to provide a road map for concerted global action, and to provide an estimate for the resources needed to achieve the goals the world has set.
The next Global Plan to Stop TB 2016 - 2020 will outline what it takes to set the world on the right track to reach the goals set in the post-2015 Global TB Strategy. The Plan will cover the ground between the long perspective of the post-2015 strategy and the focus of the plans that countries will develop. It will outline the changes that are needed, the different packages of interventions to be scaled up in different environments, and the costs involved in order to reduce global TB disease patterns. It will stake out a clear direction for global action to achieve this. It will provide a large-scale, costed blue-print for how global TB efforts can become significantly more ambitious and effective over the next five years on the road towards the 2035 targets.
The Task Force hammered out nine groups of countries based on how they face similar challenges in fighting TB and outlined specific "investment packages" tailored to needs of each of these nine groups.
The Task Force discussed in depth the methodology for modelling cost and impact of investment packages. The group endorsed use of modelling methodology that has already effectively modelled impact of interventions for South Africa, India and China. The challenges of modelling the impact of enabling interventions such as advocacy, system strengthening or activities to reach and treat vulnerable groups were highlighted. With regards to costing, the group proposed to assess the cost of interventions needed to achieve necessary impact, rather than set a ceiling for costs and calculate the impact that could be achieved within such a ceiling.
In the coming months, the Task Force recommended that a workshop of five countries plus several in-country visits be conducted to gather data for use in impact and costing modelling. This consultation should include civil society and communities, in additional to national TB program officials and NGO partners. In addition, qualitative information on opportunities, constraints and challenges in countries will be gathered.
The Stop TB Partnership’s New Tools Working Group, meanwhile, proposed a structure of the Research and Development (R&D) section in the Global Plan, which includes the actions needed to be taken between 2016 and 2020 to ensure that new technology becomes available as soon as possible - even if this is after 2020. They suggested exploring ideas and innovation necessary to break the current stagnant funding levels for TB R&D, especially working with private sector, GAVI, UNITAID and the Global Fund to identify possible incentives and market-influencing actions.
The first draft of the Global Plan is expected to be ready for wide consultation in March 2015. A final Plan will be launched in the last quarter of 2015.