Category Archives: Tuberculosis

I-TECH Supports Critical TB Prevention, Screening, and Treatment for PLHIV

The global health community recognizes March 24 as World Tuberculosis (TB) Day to raise awareness of this deadly, yet preventable and curable, disease. The 2021 theme, “The Clock Is Ticking,” underlines the importance of acting now to end the global TB epidemic. According to World Health Organization, the probability of developing active TB disease is 18 times higher in people living with HIV (PLHIV), and in 2019 TB killed 1.4 million people worldwide, which includes 208,000 people who were HIV-positive.

Photo Credit: I-TECH

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TB is one of the leading causes of death worldwide for PLHIV. To help treat and combat the spread of TB, particularly among PLHIV, the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) supports TB prevention, care, treatment, monitoring, and policy activities across the I-TECH global network. Current I-TECH work includes TB interventions in Mozambique, Namibia, and Malawi.

I-TECH supports the National TB Program in Mozambique by using the Warm Line—a telephone consultation line that supports clinicians—to deliver results for suspected drug-resistant TB cases to clinicians located at health facilities throughout the country. This collaboration with the Ministry of Health’s National TB Reference Lab allows for more timely identification and better management of drug-resistant TB cases. During 2019, 9,103 (83%) of results were delivered via the Warm Line. I-TECH’s team also engaged providers and clinicians in 383 interactions via the Warm Line to support mentoring and to monitoring complicated TB cases.

In addition to supporting clinicians with TB care and diagnosis, I-TECH supports TB prevention, diagnosis, and care among clients attending HIV clinics throughout seven regions and across 150 public health facilities in Namibia. The I-TECH team screens for active TB; monitors drug interactions for TB/HIV co-infection; provides TB screening, prevention, and management of TB/HIV co-infection for HIV-positive clients; tests for HIV at TB clinics for clients with unknown HIV status; and assesses eligibility, previous initiation, and completion of TB Preventive Therapy (TPT) to ensure no clients are missed. As of January 2021, approximately 90% of HIV-positive patients on antiretroviral therapy at supported facilities initiated their TPT course and 80% have completed their TPT course. I-TECH also works closely with healthcare workers and facilities to improve recording keeping of TPT course initiation and completion as well as the use of this data to focus day-to-day clinical efforts.

Since 2015, I-TECH has been providing technical assistance support to the Malawi National TB Program to improve the quality of TB services at all health facilities throughout Malawi. I-TECH continues to train program monitors to interpret and act on data collected using the TB Standard of Care Monitoring Tool. The tool, designed by I-TECH, collects data for case detection, treatment outcome monitoring, TB/HIV status ascertainment, and TB infection control and contact investigation. Using the collected data, I-TECH identifies performance gaps and create action plans for health facilities to improve the quality of TB services. Even with a loss of momentum due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, by September 2020, 85% of presumptive TB cases—those who were suspected of TB and referred for testing—knew their HIV status.

 

I-TECH’S WORK IN MOZAMBIQUE IS SUPPORTED BY THE HEALTH RESOURCES AND SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (HRSA) OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (HHS) UNDER U91HA06801, THE INTERNATIONAL AIDS EDUCATION AND TRAINING CENTER (IAETC). THE CONTENT OF THIS POST IS THE AUTHOR’S AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS THE OFFICIAL POSITION OR POLICY OF, NOR SHOULD ANY ENDORSEMENTS BE INFERRED BY HRSA, HHS OR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT.

Technical Support to the National HIV Response in Malawi

I-TECH seconded staff work in collaboration with government officers and program managers, and bring technical expertise to efforts to strengthen health systems. Continue reading »

Health Information Systems in Botswana

I-TECH has worked with the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other implementing partners to develop and implement robust national health information systems (HIS) that enable greater efficiency and accountability and strategic use of information. These HIS include: Continue reading »

Tuberculosis Control in Mozambique

I-TECH recently began to support MISAU’s National TB Program to update its national guidelines for TB, as well as the development of standard operating procedures so that clinical sites can integrate TB diagnosis, care and treatment (including of drug-resistant TB) into HIV services.

Workforce Development in Haiti

It is critical that health care providers receive the necessary training to empower them to improve patient outcomes CHARESS supports both pre-service and in-service training efforts in Haiti. In particular, CHARESS is a key partner of MSPP in maintaining its national clinical guidelines.  Continue reading »

Facilitator’s Guide Breaks New Ground in Ukraine

Dr. Chris Behrens (center) and participants at a pilot training event in Uzhgorod.

Dr. Chris Behrens (center) and participants at a pilot training event in Uzhgorod.

In June 2016, the academic and professional communities involved in training family physicians and general practitioners in Ukraine received another valuable guide to a highly sensitive topic.

The International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Family Medicine Training Center (UFMTC) at the Bogomolets National Medical University (NMU), and the International Renaissance Foundation, all under the auspices of the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Ukraine, published “Use of Narcotic, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors in the Practice of Family Medicine.” This facilitator’s guide (published in Ukrainian) was developed by Ukrainian and international experts in the fields of palliative care, controlled drug use, and pain management.

“The uniqueness of this publication is its extremely topical and, until recently, understated issue in Ukraine: provision of medical care with the use of controlled drugs, including opioid analgetics,” said Kateryna Amosova, Rector of the Bogomolets NMU.

The guide incorporates recent, groundbreaking updates in Ukrainian legislation. Resolution #333 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and Order #494 of the MoH legitimize primary health care providers to prescribe and manage opioids for pain management in palliative care and opioid substitution therapy (OST).

“I-TECH Ukraine was honored to be able contribute to the development of the in-service training course that promotes most progressive principles of palliative care and OST provision for patients, including those with HIV, tuberculosis, and other HIV-associated diseases,” said Anna Shapoval, Country Representative for I-TECH Ukraine. “As always, we express our profound gratitude to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, HRSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC in Ukraine, and the International Renaissance Foundation for supporting this project.”

The goal of this training curriculum is to provide participants with the skills and knowledge required to form competencies in applying narcotic, psychotropic substances, and their precursors in the practice of family medicine, specifically in combination with treatment of drug addiction, tuberculosis, and hepatitis.

Participants work at the pilot training in Uzhgorod.

Participants work at the pilot training in Uzhgorod.

The guide is based on the results of three pilot training events that took place in October through December 2015 in Uzhgorod and Kyiv. Dr. Chris Behrens, Clinical Associate Professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health, co-facilitated the first event in Uzhgorod. Dr. Behrens also co-authored the guide, along with leading experts from the Bogomolets NMU, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the National Police of Ukraine, the State Service of Ukraine for the Drug Use Control, the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast Clinical Center for Palliative Care, the Kyiv and Kryvyi Rih City AIDS Centers, and the International Renaissance Foundation.

The course covers such essential themes as:

  • The role of family physicians and primary health care facilities in using narcotic and psychotropic drugs and their precursors;
  • Legal and organizational principles of applying narcotic and psychotropic drugs and their precursors in primary health care practice in Ukraine;
  • Mental health; pre-conditions and types of opioid addiction; HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases in IDUs; palliative and hospice care;
  • Principles and use of opioid maintenance therapy in primary health care, including the patients living with HIV/AIDS; and
  • Principles and use of narcotic and psychotropic drugs and their precursors in provision of palliative and hospice care, including patients living with HIV/AIDS.

The MoH of Ukraine recommends this guide as a tutorial for clinical interns and doctors enrolled in in-service or continuous medical education training programs, as well as for faculty of the Ukrainian medical universities and colleges that train doctors and nurses as general practitioners and family doctors. The guide has been already disseminated to about 60 medical universities and the largest medical colleges in Ukraine.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under U91HA06801, the International AIDS Education and Training Center (IAETC). The content of this post is the author’s and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.