Dr. Wilber Sabiiti recently presented a paper at the Keystone Symposia on Translation of tuberculosis research into policy and practice, April 15 – 19th, Whistler, BC, Canada. Wilber’s paper highlighted the challenges that need to be addressed in order to accelerate translation of research innovations into policy and practice. Bottom up approaches are particularly critical to make research work for low-medium income countries.
There was general consensus at the conference that in absence of an effective vaccine, all the current approaches of diagnose and treat fall short of eradicating tuberculosis. For example, the introduction of Xpert MTB/RIF, an automated test that detects tuberculosis in 2h has not changed patient treatment outcomes. Moreover, anti-tuberculosis therapy has been around for over 50 years yet more than million people still die of tuberculosis every year. The ‘tap’ of new cases continues to flow unstoppably with millions of people becoming sick with tuberculosis every year. New holistic approaches that embrace health system strengthening and social economic empowerment of affected communities have never been more urgent. At the current rate of progress, it will take 160 years to end tuberculosis, said, Hon. Nick Habert at a recent World tuberculosis day commemoration hosted by All Party Parliamentary Group (APP) against tuberculosis.