Health Ministry and USAID sign document to combat TB in Bangladesh
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Tuesday pledged to deepen their partnership to end tuberculosis (TB) in Bangladesh.
The two partners also noted that Bangladesh needed to detect and treat more than 1.5 million new TB cases over the next five years.
The newly signed Statement of Partnership (SP) establishes a shared framework between the ministry and USAID to reduce the incidence of tuberculosis by 2022 through increasing case detection and treatment of TB in its all forms.
This partnership marks the latest example of USAID's new model of partnership — the Global Accelerator to End Tuberculosis — which aims to catalyze investments and aid countries across the world and meet the UN target of treating 40 million people by 2022, according to USAID.
The Health Ministry has also reaffirmed Bangladesh's commitment to significantly reduce TB cases by 2022.
USAID Mission Director Derrick Brown said: "By signing the Statement of Partnership, we at USAID recommit ourselves as a close partner of the Bangladesh government, as the country accelerates its efforts to achieve their targets by 2022."
He said USAID Bangladesh will strongly collaborate with the Health Ministry in their mission of identifying, preventing, and treating all undetected forms of TB cases.
Through the signing of the partnership statement, USAID will be a technical partner of the Bangladesh government in their journey towards ending TB in this country.
USAID Bangladesh's TB investments will focus on strengthening the laboratory and diagnostic services, detection and treatment of all forms of Tuberculosis, and preventive therapy.
The US government, through USAID, has provided more than $7 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since 1971.
In 2018, USAID provided nearly $219 million to improve the lives of people in Bangladesh through programs that expand food security and economic opportunity, improve health and education, promote democratic institutions and practices, protect the environment, and increase resiliency to climate change.
Where Bangladesh stands
Bangladesh, which is one of the ten highest burden countries in the world for TB, treated more than 2.5 million TB cases in 2018.
However, almost 26% of cases remain undetected and the rate is even higher for the multi-drug resistant TB cases and child TB cases.
Every year, about 364,000 Bangladeshis develop active tuberculosis disease and more than 70,000 die from it.
In 2017, only about 67% (244,201) of total TB cases were identified and treated.
More than 120,000 TB patients each year may not receive appropriate care, as they are not managed through the national system.
USAID’s flagship TB global cooperative agreement Challenge TB has been providing global leadership and support to the National Tuberculosis Programs (NTP) to improve access to quality patient-centred care for TB, TB/HIV and MDR/TB services, prevent transmission and disease progression, and strengthen TB platforms, according to a statement.
Challenge TB Bangladesh’s implementation had started in January 2015 with lead partner Management Sciences for Health (MSH), and technical partners Interactive Research and Development (IRD) and KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation.
The project’s closing ceremony was also held on Tuesday, where officials shared its achievements and discussed how best to replicate the comprehensive “search, treat, and prevent” approach.
Addressing the event, Dr Aziz Abdallah, country project director of Challenge TB, called for concerted efforts to finally end TB in Bangladesh.
Health Services Division Secretary Md Ashadul Islam said Bangladesh government was committed to increasing efforts in this regard. “We must continue developing a sustainable and comprehensive strategy to practice prevention efforts with enthusiasm.”
USAID Bangladesh Mission Director Brown also said: “In Bangladesh, over the last 10 years, the US government, through USAID, has invested more than $100 million to advance tuberculosis control efforts.
“Challenge TB project successfully showed the path for future work.”
Representatives of concerned government organs, USAID, Bangladesh Medical Association, World Health Organization Bangladesh, MSH, IRD and other stakeholders also attended the closing event.