Groups advocating for TB elimination are hailing a new Global Fund proposed strategy that could raise coverage of the disease’s treatment, but an expert warns it entails some risks.
The strategy committee has recommended that countries with high TB and HIV co-infection applying for Global Fund support only put forward a single, joint proposal for both diseases. If implemented, a leading expert on the matter told Devex it will be a huge step forward, as it will allow a country to tackle both diseases on the same level, such as by having health information systems, supply chains and service delivery points that cater to both HIV and TB, and can lead to savings.
A recent report noted that some 3 million people continue to miss being diagnosed with TB, and more than 300,000 of the 1.3 million that died from TB in 2012 were people living with HIV.
But the same source, who requested to remain anonymous, said if the proposal is not properly implemented and not taken seriously, or some institutions and organizations resist it, there will be no progress in significantly scaling up TB and HIV services. This could lead to co-infected patients continuing to struggle to access care from two “vertical” structures, as it is in many situations currently.
The strategy is expected to be part of the Global Fund’s new funding model, which is scheduled for full implementation by March next year.
Jenny Lei Ravelo is a staff writer for Devex. She covers breaking international development news in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and the Pacific for the Development Newswire, often focusing on aid worker security. Jenny is also a regular contributor to the GDB and other Devex publications.