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Success Stories

Experience of participating in the Union Conference, Hyderabad

Experience of participating in the Union Conference, Hyderabad

Experience of participating in the Union Conference, Hyderabad

It was a great opportunity for me as a part of the IMPACT TB team to participate in the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health, held in Hyderabad India, from 30th October to 2nd November, 2019. The Union Conference is the amalgamation of public health professionals, researchers, scientists, policy makers and advocates for sharing latest research on lung health including tuberculosis. It was my first ever visit to any international conference where I learned about the importance of active case finding and latent TB, the two vital strategies to meet the end TB goals and also reduce the catastrophic costs. Among the many important studies presented and discussed in the conference, I was interested in Dr.Noemia Siqueira-Filha’s presentation the findings on economic evaluation of using sputum smear microscopy or GeneXpert testing for active tuberculosis case finding in Nepal. It was imperative to learn from her presentation that active case finding using GeneXpert plays an important role in finding the missing cases and achieving the End TB strategy. Moreover, for a lower income country like Nepal, removing import duties and taxes of GeneXpert would reduce the cost of ACF to make the intervention much cheaper and save thousands of lives through early diagnosis and treatment.

Another presentation titled “Finding the missing cases through a public-private engagement initiative in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam” provided great insights on the importance of public private mix. It was engrossing to learn that private providers are interested in improving diagnostic quality through use of the GeneXpert testing. While there is availability of free treatment at public sector sites, 43% of referral yields prefer getting the TB treatment via private providers. Therefore, incorporating private TB treatment into official notification statistics could greatly increase case notification rates.

The highlight of the conference was the speech and dance of XDR-TB survivor, Ms Nandita Venkatesan, a journalist and advocate for TB. It was so inspiring to see her strength and efforts in advocating for rights of people affected by multi-drug resistant TB.

Overall, the conference helped me to broaden my understanding on different areas of studies being done on TB diagnostics, treatment adherence and outcomes along with the future prospects of TB treatment.

Goa experience

After attending the conference, I along with our IMPACT TB team, got the opportunity to visit Goa, India’s tourist delight. Goa is regarded as one of the busiest and up-beat destinations of the country, prominent for its beautiful beaches, vibrant night life parties and scenes, safety and water sports. Owing to the limited days, we went to the most popular beaches only i.e. Baga beach and Calangute beach, the tourist destinations in North Goa. We enjoyed some great meals and drinks in the beach restaurant nearby. The trip provided me a fantastic insight to the Indian culture and hospitality. It was a mesmerizing experience of my life, with the company of fabulous colleagues.

Bhola Rai
Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator
BNMT Nepal

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