Reporter 464, 26 March 2001

New five-year funding programme for TB team

Unique and valuable work to improve the treatment of TB in the developing world has received funding for a new five-year programme from the Department for International Development.

In Pakistan, over a million people have partially-treated TB and the death rate from TB is unnecessarily high because lack of infrastructure and medical support prevents sufferers finishing treatment.

New funding – Dr John Walley at work in the Federal TB Centre in Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Research by the Nuffield Institute, in collaboration with overseas partners, has shown the importance of offering TB care at facilities close to where patients lived, enabling them to continue with the full course of treatment.

These findings were then turned into policy through a series of national and regional consultations and workshops, with operational plans being developed for each province in Pakistan. That policy was then translated into new guidelines for care providers, and provincial and district managers, and into innovative practical training for doctors, paramedics and managers.

The new programme in Leeds, led by the Institute’s TB Research Programme Director Dr John Walley, will pilot these materials and evaluate their effectiveness.

"When we first started, we were seen as slightly maverick by the World Health Organization, but they have been very impressed by our results and we now appear to be the golden boys," said Dr Walley. "The WHO has recently decided to use components of our materials within their own guidelines and also to involve myself in future development work."

A similar project is now running in Swaziland and work has begun on adapting the materials for other developing countries.

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