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MU-JHU joins the University of Bordeaux and other partners in the fight against tuberculosis


Thanks to support from UNITAID and the 5% Initiative, the University of Bordeaux (France) is delighted to announce the launch of the TB-Speed project, which intends to reduce childhood tuberculosis (TB) in Africa and Asia by enhancing case finding and facilitating access to treatment.


This four-year project to be implemented in seven countries (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia, and Cambodia) has indeed the ambition to reinforce local capacities, procure targeted up-to-date equipment and implement innovative diagnostic approaches. Its goal is to contribute to increase the notification rate and access to treatment for paediatric TB in low-resource settings and ultimately to reduce childhood mortality from TB. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 1 million children became ill of tuberculosis and that 210,000 children still died from the disease with over 95% of them localized in low- and middle income countries. Due to major challenges in diagnosis childhood tuberculosis, only 38% of all estimated tuberculosis cases in children were notified to WHO in 2015 (Global tuberculosis report. WHO 2016).


The project director, Dr Olivier Marcy from the University of Bordeaux, commented that “Today more than 600 children die every day from TB. 95% of them are under 5 and do not have access to treatment. This is due to lack of efficient diagnosis. By strengthening paediatric TB services, TB-Speed will increase the number of children diagnosed and started on treatment. It represents therefore a great challenge answering outstanding expectations.”
Coordinated by the IDLIC team of the Bordeaux Population Health Research Centre, in charge of infectious diseases in lower income countries, this challenging programme will gather a consortium of 7 institutions or organisations: the MU-JHU care ltd in Uganda, the French National Institute for Research for Sustainable Development (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement), , the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia, PAC-CI in Côte d’Ivoire, the National Institute of Health (Instituto Nacional de Saude) in Mozambique, The Therapeutic Solidarity and Initiatives for Health (Solthis, France) and the University of Zambia.

Activities will be conducted through 6 specific outputs or work packages, all aiming at overcoming the hurdles to an early diagnosis of tuberculosis in children, namely the concentration of childhood TB services at tertiary and secondary care levels, the lack of systematic screening for tuberculosis of the most vulnerable children (HIV infected children, children with severe malnutrition and children with severe pneumonia), the weak chest radiography services, the low diagnostic yield of existing tests and the absence of point-of-care tests. Output 1 will test new decentralised childhood TB diagnosis approaches at district and sub-district health facility level for 10,800 children with presumptive TB. Output 2 will evaluate an early TB detection strategy in 3,000 children with severe pneumonia. Output 3 will validate diagnostic tools and algorithms in 1,250 children infected with HIV and severely malnourished children. Output 4 will identify optimised, suitable and affordable specimen processing and collection methods for diagnosis in resource limited countries. Output 5 will evaluate cost effectiveness of the proposed diagnosis approaches. Output 6 will focus on the dissemination and communication aspects as well as the engagement of stakeholders.

For more information, please contact the Project Director, Olivier Marcy.