Community Engagement of IMPAACT4TB Grantees at the 51st virtual Union Conference “Advancing Prevention” 2020

Community Engagement of IMPAACT4TB Grantees at the 51st virtual Union Conference “Advancing Prevention” 21 – 24 October 2020

The Treatment Action Group (TAG) continues to reinforce community engagement in scientific advancements related to TB as well as TPT. To further this mandate, TAG supported 12 civil society participants, some of whom IMPAACT4TB grantees, to attend the virtual 51st Union Lung Conference, which took place from 21 – 24 October 2020. The conference theme, “Advancing Prevention” was timely especially because of the rigorous advocacy that the IMPAACT4TB grantees’ have been doing around policy preparedness, increasing community acceptance of TPT and demand generation for short-course TB preventive therapies (TPT) such as 3HP.

As this was the first time the Union held a virtual conference, TAG provided technical assistance to assist grantees in navigating the conference platform.

“It was a new experience attending a virtual conference this year. I joined several sessions, however, I felt if it was physical it would have been very interactive as you can engage fully with the speakers as well as the other participants.” Stephen, Kenya

 

Some highlights from community participation in both the scientific and community connect programme:

  • Sessions focused on the importance of integrating services. Functional models were advanced by showcase the urgency of integrating health services, as well as leveraging different entry points such as family models to scale-up TPT. A case in point was how national polio immunization plus days and polio outbreak responses activities in Kaduna state in Nigeria, were leveraged to improve detection of persons with TB. This was seen as a clear strategy to improve TB case detection in Nigeria. This is also a low hanging fruit in advancing family approaches to TPT for people living with HIV (PLHIV).
  • It was exciting to hear about some of the “thinking outside the TB box” interventions to adapt symptom-based tools for children in the waiting areas and the introduction of routine TB screening for all clients under 15 years of age attending outpatient departments (OPD), pediatric wards, maternal and child health (MCH), nutrition, HIV, and other relevant, non-TB-specific child health services. Also, implementing TPT as part of routine child care services at orphaned homes with a periodic evaluation.
  • There were also interesting sessions focused on prevention through vaccination and advancing research and development of new vaccines. BCG is the only vaccine to prevent childhood tuberculous meningitis and miliary disease. But there is a need to increase investments in the development of new vaccines that can prevent most common forms of TB.
  • In this plenary session, the vital role of nurses in helping countries to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was highlighted. The session reflected that the global healthcare response depends on the leadership and contributions of the nursing workforce. The session fell short of mentioning the importance of protecting nurses against TB and COVID-19.

 To facilitate improved participation, TAG also identified TPT-related conference sessions in the main programme and prepared a summative TPT Roadmap (below). This reinforced participation in the scientific, as well as the community-connect sessions throughout the conference.

TAG further invited participating grantees to attend and report on the scientific sessions as TPT community reporters. TAG developed a summative conference reporting template aligned to the TPT Roadmap, to guide the reporters.

In terms of coverage, community reporters participated in the following sessions; Oral Abstract, symposiums and satellite sessions. The types of sessions covered by reporters over the first three days are summarised below:

Observations from the community reporters were positive. Most of them felt that the sessions were useful and that the information would assist in fortifying the evidence-based for their advocacy.

 

 

 

 

 

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