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ENGAGE-TB Approach Collaboration with WHO Global TB Program Engages CSO in the fight against TB

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world's deadliest diseases and a leading killer of people living with HIV. In countries with high levels of HIV, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, about 80 percent of people with TB also have HIV.

Since 2011, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global TB Programme have collaborated on ENGAGE-TB , a strategy to strengthen community-based care for patients with TB, including those who also have HIV, in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

ENGAGE-TB takes a community-based approach to TB prevention, case identification, care and support by engaging a broad range of community-based health partners in primary health care, HIV and maternal and child health.

Leveraging the national health care infrastructure and technical assistance faculty developed by the Foundation's landmark SECURE THE FUTURE initiative, ENGAGE-TB works with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national TB programs and ministries of health in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to better identify and bring into treatment people with TB and to help prevent the disease from spreading.

"Thanks to these efforts, NGOs previously unengaged in TB care are now implementing innovative models of community-based TB activities as part of their routine work and serving society's most underprivileged people," says Mario Raviglione, M.D., director, WHO Global TB Programme. "This is a giant step forward. We went from neglect to providing grassroots TB care for those who need it most and provided tools and resources to achieve that."

From 2011, the Foundation has awarded two grants totaling $4.7 million to support ENGAGE-TB's work in Africa through 2016.

"Since it began in 1999, the Foundation's SECURE THE FUTURE initiative has attended to the needs of patients with TB as part of its HIV mandate, and our collaboration with the WHO Global TB Programme and selected national TB programs on ENGAGE-TB was based on the positive outcomes we achieved with some of these activities," says John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. "Now as our collaboration moves into the next phase, we are confident that we will see the continued benefits on TB prevention, early diagnosis and treatment by strengthening capacity in local communities, including preventing unnecessary deaths."

In Ethiopia, a pilot program involving Save the Children in Somali, AMREF in Afar and Doctors with Africa-CUAMM in Wolisso integrates TB, HIV and maternal, child and neonatal health and shows that community involvement strengthens and facilitates the management of TB.

"The integrated TB/HIV project has been implemented as a collaborative initiative by integrating with the existing maternal, neonatal health and child projects in two districts where the burden of TB is significantly high," says Awoke Tasew, M.D., deputy director, AMREF Ethiopia. "Through the project, we hope to develop working models that will increase TB case management and enhance community engagement."

The ENGAGE-TB initiative is expected to boost the meaningful engagement of NGOs and community organizations and will draw on technical assistance through community care experts from SECURE THE FUTURE, in an effort to reduce TB incidence in Africa and globally.