Tag Archives: UK Coalition to Stop TB

School pupils encouraged to call for an end to TB in their lifetime with relaunched project

RESULTS UK has recently relaunched a school assemblies’ programme that will encourage young people to learn more about TB.

'Stop TB Our Lifetime' postcardIn partnership with the UK Coalition to Stop TB and the Stop TB partnership, RESULTS UK will raise awareness of TB among young people as a worldwide problem but, importantly, as one that we can end if we act together. While raising awareness, we’ll also encourage young people to use their voice to call for an end to TB in our lifetime, whether this be through getting in touch with their local MP or writing an article for their local or school paper.

The programme we have devised provides materials for schools to run an assembly, including case studies to help students understand the reality of TB and how it is a significant issue for people their age both at home in the UK and abroad. Recognising the increasing importance of citizenship classes, the programme also includes follow up materials for the classroom that teachers can use to further enhance students understanding of TB and related issues and get them more involved in the democratic process. Inspired by Universal Children’s Day on 20th November, we will be arranging visits to Parliament for groups of students to meet their local MP and share what they’ve learnt about TB.

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Cases of drug resistant TB continue to rise in the UK

The number of drug resistant cases of tuberculosis (TB) continues to rise in the UK.  431 cases were reported in 2011, up from 342 in 2010 – an increase of 26 per cent. Overall, 8,963 new cases of TB were reported to the Health protection Agency (HPA) in 2011, up from 8,410 cases in 2010. Although this represents an increase in new cases, it is within the range reported to the HPA in recent years.

Drug resistance arises due to improper use of antibiotics in chemotherapy of drug-susceptible TB patients. This improper use is a result of a number of actions including, administration of improper treatment regimens and failure to ensure that patients complete the whole course of treatment. Essentially, drug resistance is a man-made problem that arises in areas with weak TB control programmes. A patient who develops active disease with a drug-resistant TB strain can transmit this form of TB to other individuals.

Drug resistant strains of the TB are not only more difficult and costly to treat (up to £250,000 per case for the most severe forms), but they require up to two years of treatment with patients taking over 20 tablets a day as well as taking regular injections with horrible side effects.

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Global issue of TB brought home in school assemblies

Together with the Stop TB Partnership and UK Coalition to Stop TB, RESULTS UK has been working on a project to raise awareness among young people of TB as a global problem but one that we could see an end to in our lifetime.

We planned a small number of school assemblies in the run up to World TB Day on 24th March and following on from their success, we recently relaunched our assembly programme.World TB Day Postcard

Throughout the summer and autumn terms we’ll be working with schools to hold assemblies in the run-up to Universal Children’s Day on 20th November.

We’ve put together an assembly pack and PowerPoint which schools can use to help plan their assemblies, plus some hints and tips for follow-up activities, including colourful postcards which pupils can send to their MPs with their own personal message why TB is such an important issue. We’re happy to chat through the materials and provide additional information for anyone wanting to know more about TB and all the activities are closely linked to the curriculum.

World TB Day Postcard
The assemblies are a great way to tap into work that pupils may be doing in several subjects, including biology, geography, citizenship and a chance to engage them on an issue which often has local, national and international relevance.

If you’re a teacher, pupil or have close links to a school and would like to help organise an assembly, we can support you every step of the way – just get in touch with Charlotte by email on charlotte.gill@results.org.uk

UK Coalition to Stop TB to give evidence at parliamentary enquiry on the Global Fund

On 17 April, RESULTS UK Executive Director, Aaron Oxley, will join a panel of expert witnesses to give evidence to the International Development Select Committee on the current situation at the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. The IDC enquiry comes at a time when key stakeholders in the three diseases have been calling for the UK government to support the Fund as it undergoes a reform process and funding crisis.

In November 2011 the Global Fund board agreed a series of reforms and adjustments including the cancellation of its planned funding round in order to ensure it was able to continue reduced operations based on its funding restrictions.  Campaign groups hope that the Select Committee enquiry will focus on the possible impact of the Global Fund’s reduced contributions to developing countries based on its current funding shortfalls, and on how DFID is uniquely placed to show global leadership at this time.

The enquiry will take place in Committee Room 5, in the Palace of Westminster at 2pm with witnesses to include the Global Fund General Manager, Gabriel Jaramillo. The Roll Back Malaria Partnership, UK Consortium on AIDS and International Development, Aidspan and the UK Coalition to Stop TB.

The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Secretary of State for International Development will speak in response.  The session can be watched live on Parliament TV.

Worldwide TB drug shortage looms but Bayer gives hope with Moxifloxacin

While countries roll out exciting and innovative new tests that will enable them to diagnose more patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), a worldwide shortage of the drugs to treat these patients is likely, international medical and humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has said.

USAID images_South Africa: Promoting Awareness that Tuberculosis is Curable

2010 saw the advent of the GeneXpert, a two-hour molecular TB test, which according to PlusNews will enable diagnosis of more patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB).
However, diagnostic innovations such as these, highlight the implications and successes tackling the TB epidemic. As Norbert Ndjeka, director of DR-TB, TB and HIV at the South African National Department of Health explains, this faster, more sensitive form of testing could double the number of MDR-TB cases diagnosed in South Africa, where the world’s fifth-largest burden of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB cases can be found.
“Treating MDR-TB patients takes up about half South Africa’s TB budget” already, and “MSF has estimated that without lower DR-TB costs, South Africa will be spending as much as $630 million on treatment by 2015,”
Costs of DR-TB drugs are a worldwide struggle, yet South African activists have long complained that the country pays predominantly more. Although South Africa cures about 42 percent of MDR-TB patients nationally, according to Ndjeka, the national success rate masks provincial cure rates as low as 10 percent. MSF has called for countries to avert the looming crisis by improving drug forecasting, negotiating better prices and accelerating national medicines registrations.
Further news this week has proven it is not all stories of doom and gloom when it comes to TB drug supply. A positive move has been made by Bayer Healthcare to provide over 600,000 Moxifloxacin drugs to the World Health Organisation for use in its Stop Tuberculosis Partnership, with the WHO expected to provide the antibiotics to China’s national TB programme.
Commenting on the latest donation, Bayer chairman Joerg Reinhardt said:
“We were happy to follow the request from WHO because we believe that this is the right step to address an increasing medical need in patients affected with this serious disease and for whom there are only very limited oral treatment options available.”
The WHO issued a plea to drug makers to donate medicines to help healthcare systems treat tuberculosis patients effectively. WHO director-general Margaret Chan has warned that the world is heading for an era in which common infections will ‘kill unabated’ unless urgent action is taken to curb the spread of antibiotic resistance.
Moxifloxacin is included in the WHO has treatment guidelines as a second-line regimen in patients with multidrug-resistant forms of the disease. Bayer is currently conducting clinical trials of the antibiotic in tuberculosis and the drug could potentially reduce the length of treatment for drug-susceptible TB from six to four months.

Stop TB Partnership Announces New Executive Secretary

This week the Stop TB Partnership announced its newly appointed Executive Secretary, Dr. Lucia Ditiu, following the departure of Marcos Espinal in August 2010. A native of Romania, Dr Ditiu is a physician and researcher who has devoted her career to improving the lives of people living in communities heavily burdened by tuberculosis (TB). Continue reading

2010: The year in review

2010 has been a year that has seen many successes in the areas on which RESULTS campaigns. As the year draws to a close, and we look ahead to the challenges we face in 2011, we’d like to have a look back at those successes and to say thank you to our fantastic grassroots network and all the other individuals and organisations that have lent us their skills and expertise over the past 12 months. Continue reading

UK Coalition to Stop TB Joins Stop AIDS Campaign on World AIDS Day 2010

Today on World AIDS Day, millions of people living with HIV/AIDS are at risk of dying of tuberculosis (TB), the world’s leading killer of people living with HIV. Despite all the gains achieved in the last twenty years through education and awareness, drug research and development of more effective ARV therapies, thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS continue to die from TB.

The UK Coalition to Stop TB and the UK Stop AIDS Campaign published an open letter in the Guardian newspaper today highlighting that we cannot effectively tackle deaths of people with HIV without also addressing those dying from TB. What is desperately needed is the political will to help combat this dual epidemic on all fronts.

You can read the full Open Letter here.

The Growing Voice of TB Patient Advocates in the UK

Last Friday, Aparna Barua, Project Associate for the ACTION Project and coordinator of the UK Coalition to Stop TB, met with the TB Action Group (TBAG). The group was set up by TB Alert to provide a forum for those suffering from TB or affected by TB, to openly discuss their experiences. Many members have now become advocates and their latest campaign, The Truth About TB aims to raise the profile of TB amongst the UK population.

Friday night’s discussions highlighted how in the UK, the voice of patient advocates is small and difficult to amplify. It is hoped that by better communication and engagement with the UK Coalition to Stop TB, TB patient advocates will have a greater ability to engage parliamentarians in key discussions, including on the recently released white paper ‘Liberating the NHS’. This white paper sets out plans for a massive re-organisation of the health service, including the abolition of strategic health authorities and primary care trusts, the creation of an NHS Commissioning Board and the transfer of many commissioning responsibilities to GP commissioning consortia. Continue reading

The Lancet puts TB in the spotlight

On Wednesday the Lancet’s ‘Series on Tuberculosis’ was published to mark the 63rd World Health Assembly, currently being held in Geneva this week. A collection of articles written by noted academics, clinicians and TB advocates, the series demonstrates that tuberculosis (TB) is an ongoing public health threat; with its main drivers being HIV/AIDS, multidrug resistance and poverty. The Lancet is the pre-eminent medical journal in the UK, so this is a great opportunity to raise the profile of this devastating disease. Continue reading