[How to cope with the global tuberculosis burden—experiences and perspectives for Japan's international cooperation]

Nobukatsu Ishikawa
Kekkaku: [Tuberculosis] 2005, 80 (2): 89-94
Tuberculosis is a global burden disease, most possibly ranking high among diseases over the coming several decades, with 2 million deaths and over 8 million new cases annually. How can TB be controlled and eradicated quickly in the world? A major answer will be the wider application of the most effective control programme, i.e. DOTS recommended by WHO. But it has been developed in the long try and error efforts, including the ones by Dr. K. Styblo of IUATLD in African countries. The key components of successful TB programme are summarised as follows, which Dr. Kochi of WHO adopted as a global policy package. They are; 1) political commitment, 2) case finding by sputum microscopy, 3) use of short course chemotherapy under supervision, 4) a secured supply of anti-TB drugs, and 5) a standardised recording, reporting and monitoring system. The targets by 2005 are set 85% cure rate and 70% detection rate. By 2002, however, only half the targets have been achieved, and global expansion of DOTS with other strategies need to be strengthened. Emerging threats are HIV epidemic, MDR-TB increase and health sector reform taking place in the world. Stop TB partnership with its office in WHO has been formed to strengthen a global capacity, mobilizing various technical and financial partners. Japan's contribution to the global TB problem started in early 1960s. In the last 40 years, technical cooperation in national TB programme (NTP) has been made through JICA in over 15 countries, including United Arab Emirates. Thailand, Nepal, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Yemen, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Zambia, and China (TB project is on-going in underlined countries). In these projects, capacity strengthening of NTP has been given priority, including construction of national TB center, a model area development, nationwide DOTS expansion in collaboration with WHO or others, supply of anti-TB drugs, TB laboratory network with QA, collaborative operational research. An operational research for community based DOTS and ART is newly started in Zambia under JICA project. Besides, over 1800 doctors and technologists from 90 countries have been trained at Research Institute of Tuberculosis (RIT) through its international training courses in the last 40 years. These courses are organised collaboratively with WHO or other agencies, inviting globally renowned lecturers and ex-participants, and have been reputed widely. We aim not only to teach skills and knowledge but also to motivate them to do something new. This becomes possible only through human relationship in the course. I may need to mention about my personal commitment: First, I have worked to develop a community based TB programme model utilising village health volunteers in Bangladesh in 1980s. This system has now covered over 70% of the total patients in the country through BRAC, local NGO. Secondly, the application of participatory action research (PAR) method in introducing or expanding DOTS in Bangladesh and other countries. Staff members of NTP and local/ peripheral workers participate in the trials and discuss actively in the workshops periodically. This PAR approach empowers both NTP managers and peripheral staff. Through the international cooperation, we aim ultimately at 1) support for self-reliance, 2) empowerment (capacity building for problem finding and solution) of the people concerned, and 3) promotion of global peace without arms.

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