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Posts Tagged ‘Center for Global Health Policy’

The Stop TB Partnership has made the Infectious Diseases Society of America an organizational member of its TB/HIV working group, a reflection of IDSA’s increasingly visible work on these twin global health threats.

Housed within the World Health Organization, the Stop TB Partnership was formed more than a decade ago as a network of international organizations, donors, governmental and non-governmental groups—all committed to eliminating the deadly scourge of TB. The Partnership has seven working groups to focus energy and attention on specific challenges in fighting TB, including drug-resistant TB, new TB drugs, and DOTS expansion.

IDSA’s membership in the TB/HIV working group will provide a new mechanism to advocate for improvements in policies and programs designed to combat these two epidemics, which have formed a deadly synergy that threatens to unravel gains in treating HIV. Christine Lubinski, IDSA’s vice president for global health, will serve as IDSA’s representative on the TB/HIV working group.

In ratifying a proposal to accept IDSA, the Partnership took note of IDSA’s recent work on co-infection through its Center for Global Health Policy. In particular, the Partnership drew attention to the Global Center’s call for a Presidential Initiative on TB and for a comprehensive strategy to combat HIV/TB co-infection, as detailed in “Deadly Duo: The Synergy Between HIV/AIDS & Tuberculosis.”

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During a live interactive webcast today hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, an expert panel agreed that tuberculosis poses a grave global health threat and demands an innovative, multifaceted response—from new drugs to scaled-up treatment to better infection control.

The lively forum, available here, highlighted the need for an aggressive approach to the global tuberculosis epidemic just as the US government is putting the finishing touches on its five-year global tuberculosis strategy. But it’s far from clear the US will provide the leadership and resources needed.

Cheri Vincent, senior public health advisor in the Infectious Diseases Division, Bureau for Global Health, at USAID, said her agency is now mapping out its five-year TB strategy, working in conjunction with PEPFAR, the Department of Defense, and other agencies. One key objective, she said, is to halve TB prevalence by 2015 from 1990 levels. Another goal is to get at least 90,000 patients with multi-drug resistant TB on treatment, she said, noting that right now, very few MDR-TB patients are being treated in adherence with international guidelines.

“We also need to build on the health system platform and make sure we’re doing it in a cost effective and integrated approach,” Vincent said.

Christine Sizemore, Ph.D., chief of the Tuberculosis and other Mycobacterial Diseases Section in NIAID’s Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, noted that in 1985, the research institute’s budget for TB was only $160,000 a year and the disease had fallen off the medical community’s agenda. It popped back up in the 1990s, when an outbreak of drug-resistant TB in the U.S. made scientists realize this was a continuing threat.

Now, she said, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has made a “fairly significant investment” in TB, spending about $140 million a year on TB related research. But, Sizemore said, “We need to start looking at the disease in a larger context.” She said discussions are underway to move toward what NIAID director Tony Fauci has called a “transformative” research agenda for TB. For more on Fauci’s vision, read this post.

Christine Lubinski, director of the IDSA/HIVMA Center for Global Health Policy, said while these steps are vital, the US government’s response still does not reflect the urgency of the epidemic. She noted that when Congress reauthorized the global AIDS initiative, known as PEPFAR, in 2008, lawmakers authorized $4 billion over five years for TB control, but decision-makers are not on track to fulfill that funding commitment.

In the last budget proposal from the White House, “we did not see … even remotely a down payment on that,” Lubinski said. (more…)

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The Center for Global Health Policy has put in its two cents (and more) on how the House Foreign Affairs Committee should move forward with plans to overhaul US foreign assistance.

In a nutshell, our recommendations are: Make global health a priority in any revamp of foreign aid. Protect the power and independence of the Office of the US Global AIDS Coordinator. And don’t mess with Lantos-Hyde, better known as PEPFAR II.

In this effort, the Global Center teamed up with a half-dozen other advocacy groups in responding to the House panel’s initial “concept paper,” which was released last month and spelled out the committee’s initial framework for foreign aid reform.

The Global Center’s formal response—submitted to the House Foreign Affairs Committee today and also signed by Treatment Action Group, RESULTS, and several other groups—detailed several significant concerns with the House panel’s concept paper. That initial plan did not include any mention of infectious diseases, let alone a particular reference to the deadly twin scourges of HIV and TB, and it suggested giving USAID supervisory power over OGAC. (more…)

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Leading disease experts will call on President Obama and Congress to mount a concerted and comprehensive response to the deadly alliance between HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis at a Capitol Hill briefing this Thursday, June 25

The call to action from America’s top HIV/TB scientists and physicians comes in conjunction with the release of a new report, “Deadly Duo: The Synergy Between HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis,” from the Center for Global Health Policy.

The Center’s report highlights the scope of TB/HIV co-infection and warns that, without a well-coordinated effort to address these co-joined epidemics, lives rescued from AIDS through access to life-saving HIV drugs will be lost to TB. So far, policymakers have not treated HIV-TB co-infection as an issue in need of an emergency response, despite an enormous death toll from these twin scourges.

(more…)

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