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Tuberculosis: Working to Empower the Nations’ Diagnostic Effort

Tuberculosis (TB) kills more than a million people every year. Rapid and accurate diagnosis is crucial for control of TB yet around 40% of world’s cases go without a laboratory test. Many millions of dollars has been spent developing novel diagnostic and treatment innovations and, yet, the successful ones do not reach those who most need it. We are, therefore, proposing a study that will identify the barriers and opportunities to accelerate uptake of successful TB diagnostics. TWENDE, a Swahili word for “let’s go!” enshrines the concept of ‘paving the road’ and creating a platform on which research innovations can be translated into policy and practice with focus on three East African States, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. We will conduct a go beyond the laboratory frontiers study to assess the extent of implementation of molecular diagnostics for TB and explore reasons why in places where the assays are unavailable. The WHO approved Xpert MTB/Rif and Line probe assays will be used as case studies. Using the data obtained we will engage policy and decision makers on their role in ensuring uptake of effective research innovations into policy and practice. For capacity building we propose to establish and empower knowledge transfer (KT) units in each of Southern partner institutions to maintain the channel of communication between research and policymaking. Offering short training courses with follow-up proficiency testing using external control panels we will assess adaptability to molecular diagnostics. We are confident that this study will provide valuable knowledge on how research innovation uptake can be accelerated, encourage new research, develop policymaker partnerships, plot appropriate avenues through which local and international funding can make an impact, and empower Southern institutions to translate knowledge into policy and practice.

Acronym (Reference Number) TWENDE (EDCTP-CSA-2014-283)
Duration 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2017
Project Topic TB

Project partner

Number Short Name Name Role Country
1 The University of St Andrews Coordinator United Kingdom
2 EAHRC East African Health Research Commission Partner Tanzania
3 Makerere University Partner Uganda
4 KEMRI Kenya Medical Research Institute Partner Kenya
5 NIMR-MMRC National Institute of Medical Research-Mbeya Medical Research Centre Partner Tanzania
6 CPAR Uganda Ltd Partner Uganda
7 KCRI Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute Partner Tanzania