The U.S. Government, through the U.S Agency for International Development, or USAID, in partnership with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health and implementing partners KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Management Sciences for Health, or MSH, and the World Health Organization, celebrated the transition from the HEAL-TB activity to Challenge TB at a recent event in Addis Ababa.
Working closely with the Ministry of Health and the Amhara and Oromia regional health bureaus, USAID’s HEAL TB activity has helped the ministry to screen more than 16 million people for TB since July 2011. While improving TB services at 1,000 health facilities was the original target, the activity enabled the ministry to expand to all 2,200 health facilities in the two regions.
Implemented by MSH, together with its sub-partners ALERT, PATH, and the Kenya Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, HEAL-TB significantly strengthened the laboratory network for TB diagnosis and placed more than 250,000 people on treatment. Additionally, USAID created a model multi-drug resistant program, integrated TB and HIV services, and expanded TB expertise at zonal and local levels.
Ethiopia remains among the world’s 30 high-burden TB countries, with close to 200,000 new cases estimated each year. Of these, only two-thirds are being identified for treatment. Ethiopia had approximately 1,300 new multi-drug resistant cases in 2014, with less than 45 percent treated.
The Challenge TB project is expected to substantially contribute to the Government of Ethiopia’s goal of ending TB throughout the country. It will build upon HEAL-TB, and expand in scope to support the Ministry of Health in nearly all regions of Ethiopia.
In alignment with the Health Sector Transformation Plan, Challenge TB will provide decentralized technical assistance to the Government of Ethiopia at all levels to improve the quality of TB services, referral links, data and reporting.
It will also emphasize access to TB services by key populations. KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation is the lead implementing partner, with MSH and the World Health Organization substantially involved in project management.
As USAID Mission Director Dennis Weller noted, “We could not have achieved these results had it not been for our strong partnership and collaboration with the Ministry of Health and regional health bureaus.”