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Health on the Go: Mobile Clinic Delivers TB Services at Point of Need

2017-03-24—World Tuberculosis Day was established to increase public awareness about the global epidemic. Here are a few grim facts that drive our work every day:

  • 60% of the global TB burden in 2016 was shared among only 6 countries: India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa—India leads this list.1
  • The population of India bears 23% of the TB burden globally.2
  • Estimates are that 40% of the population in India is infected with TB—most with the latent form of the disease.2
  • There are 4 diagnostic tests, 9 new drugs in advanced development, and 13 vaccines in clinical trials.2

 

The World Health Organization currently has no guidelines to help prevent people living with tuberculosis patients from getting the disease.

In July 2016, the BJGMC-JHU research partnership was thrilled to inaugurate a new tool in support of our work on TB in India. Made possible through philanthropic contributions from Raj and Bharti Shah, CTIS, and the NB Shah Charitable Trust, the Mobile Health and Wellness Clinic is a state-of-the-art clinic on wheels based out of BJGMC that brings health screening and care into the community, right where these services are needed. The clinic is now deployed regularly in support of work to, among other goals, ease the burden of tuberculosis, a major health issue affecting the people of Maharashtra.

Improving Treatment

The Mobile Health and Wellness Clinic is instrumental in supporting work to improve TB treatment. One such effort is a study titled Protecting Households on Exposure to Newly Diagnosed Index Multidrug-Resistant TB Patients (known as the PHOENIx study). 

PHOENIx is a large, 8-year, multi-country trial being conducted on 5 continents to determine how effective a new drug is in preventing the development of tuberculosis among people who live with someone who has the disease. Specifically, this study is comparing whether preventive treatment with delamanid reduces the risk of developing TB, versus treatment with isoniazid preventive therapy in children, adolescents, and adults. CCGHE Deputy Director Dr. Amita Gupta of CCGHE is Co-Chair of this international effort, and Dr. Nishi Suryavanshi is the BJGMC site coordinator. “The mobile capability of the clinic has enhanced the research effort by helping us reach more of the affected community,” Suryavanshi said.

Providing People with Health Resources

In addition to supporting research efforts, Health Camps are held in which the Mobile Health and Wellness Clinic is deployed into the community to provide people with point-of-need health education, screening, and counseling services, and when needed, referrals into care. One recent Health Camp was held at a large construction site, and workers were provided TB and diabetes screening and health referral services. The camp was conducted on March 18 in collaboration with Saudamini, a community-based organization that provides HIV and STD services and counseling in Pune. In all, 76 six workers were screened that day, and 7 suspected cases of TB were referred into care—nearly 10% of the people screened were linked to care. As Dr. Vidya Mave, Director of the Clinical Site at BJGMC noted, “TB lies in just about every corner of Maharashtra, and a wide variety of creative approaches are needed to reach them. The Mobile Health and Wellness Clinic has been very helpful in this regard.”

Our bilateral clinical team currently has more than 30 TB studies underway. “We are committed to improve the odds of beating TB among children, adults, and pregnant women,” Dr. Amita Gupta noted and added “we are very proud to be part of the international effort to take the wind out of TB.”

 

References

  1. World Health Organization. Global Tuberculosis Report 2016. http://www.who.int/tb/publications/global_report/en/
  2. TB Statistics for India – National & state statistics: http://www.tbfacts.org/tb-statistics-india/#sthash.FTnh7bke.dpuf http://www.tbfacts.org/tb-statistics-india/