Thursday, 27 September 2018 00:00

Sir Fazle Calls for stepping up funding and innovations to tackle TB at UNGA high level meeting

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The international community must increase investments in the invention and application of new tools and treatments, such as vaccines, diagnostics and drugs to successfully fight tuberculosis, the world’s deadliest communicable disease.

BRAC chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed said these while addressing a high level meeting of UN General Assembly on Wednesday (26 September 2018).

Speaking at the Multi-stakeholder Panel 1 session on fight against tuberculosis, Sir Fazle observed that one of the leading causes of inadequate funding is that it is the disease of the third world where living conditions are often extremely unhealthy.

Having stressed finding out innovative delivery mechanisms “that account for the lived reality of tuberculosis patients,” Sir Fazle shared with audience BRAC’s innovation in this regard. In Bangladesh the biggest barrier to TB treatment is that often patients do not adhere to the long treatment course.

By applying a simple economic nudge BRAC nearly solved the issue. It asks a TB patient at the start of treatment to put down a deposit of 200 taka ($2.40) and get it back after completing the course. Led by the policy direction of the Bangladesh government, BRAC now reaches 101 million people and ensure case detection and treatment for over 160,000 TB patients annually with 94 per cent cure rate.

He also emphasised collaborative actions, saying “nongovernmental organisations, enabled by governments and in partnership with donors and the private sector, can play a critical role in this area”.

“With a renewed commitment to funding combined with a focus on effective and innovative delivery methods I believe we can finally relegate tuberculosis to the history books”, said BRAC chairperson.

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