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A Call To Action

In March 2015, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), SWIFT Response Project, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Treatment Action Group (TAG) and 85 other organizations issued a call to action urging global health actors and the TB community to form a consortium with the objective of meeting time-bound, concrete targets for scaling up use of new drugs in treatment for drug-resistant TB (DR-TB).

In response, World Health Organization (WHO) put the proposal on the agenda for the Global Drug-resistant TB Initiative (GDI) meeting in April, which was the catalyst to set up the DR-TB Scale-Up Treatment Action Team (DR-TB STAT) consisting of key global TB organizations, including civil society representatives. DR-TB STAT is now a task force within the Global Drug-Resistant TB Initiative (GDI), and its targets remain the same as outlined in the call to action, including:

  • Quickstart access to new drugs – Ensure at least 500 patients are started on regimens that include bedaquiline by July 2015, and at least 500 patients are started on regimens that include delamanid by January 2016 as a way of demonstrating tangible commitment to getting drugs to patients as larger scale-up efforts are planned.
  • Optimize DR-TB treatment – Provide technical assistance for implementation plans for the top 25 endemic countries by 2016, ensure the two new TB drugs are part of routine treatment in 20 countries by the end of 2016 and 52 countries by the end of 2019 and ensure that key re-purposed drugs are in use by the national TB programs.
  • Prioritize regulatory approvals – Ensure that the two new drugs have been filed for registration in 25 countries by the beginning of 2016 and 52 countries by 2017, and that the drugs are registered for use, or import waivers are in place, by 2016.

Task Force Functioning

DR-TB STAT holds monthly meetings via conference call to discuss ongoing progress and challenges in new drug introduction. DR-TB STAT aims to help identify and address barriers to new drug introduction both generally and in country-specific settings.

Every month, two countries are identified that are of interest to the members of the Task Force. The Task Force Chair works with key contacts in the identified countries to produce reports of the progress toward new drug introduction in that country, and those reports are then discussed on the call. Country representatives from the identified countries are strongly encouraged to participate on the calls. The Task Force aims to support the country representatives in identifying both the successes and challenges of introducing new TB drugs to their TB program, and to leverage the many stakeholders involved to address the country’s challenges directly.

Lastly, the Task Force aims to use these country-level challenges to inform and frame their global advocacy for new drug introduction.

DR-TB STAT’s first call took place in June 2015. Since then, DR-TB STAT convened monthly to discuss the specific barriers to drug access for the countries being reviewed, and for members of the action team to work together with the countries to ensure that these barriers are overcome, so that the new medicines, including accompanying drugs needed for the full regimens, can be made available in the countries requesting them. Monthly reports are available under the Country Updates tab

Terms of Reference

DR-TB STAT’s terms of reference are available here.