Community movements across Africa, Asia and South America celebrate the roll-out of short-course, patient-friendly TB preventive therapy

Community movements across Africa, Asia and South America celebrate the roll-out of short-course, patient-friendly TB preventive therapy

CAPE TOWN, 16 February 2021—Advocates and affected communities working towards the global scale-up of short-course TB preventive therapy (TPT) hail the recent announcement of the launch of decently priced, patient-friendly fixed-dose combinations (FDC) of 3HP in five high burden HIV and TB countries.[1] This news, made possible by the Unitaid-funded IMPAACT4TB project, comes at an opportune time as communities grapple with the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has stressed struggling healthcare systems and set back efforts to expand access to TB prevention services. “In most of our countries, preventing TB remains a worthwhile public health investment,” noted Jerry Amoah-Larbi from the Ghana National TB Voice Network. “These FDC 3HP treatments are a game-changer for communities affected by HIV and TB, who face the double-stigma from public misperceptions that all coughs are caused by COVID-19. Not every cough is COVID-19! Preventing TB is an urgent priority for our communities.”

TPT has been available in most middle-to-low-income countries for decades. Yet often the six, nine, 12, or 36-month treatment journey on isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT)—a daily regimen of the drug isoniazid—remains tedious, lonely, and difficult for people to complete in full. Chimwemwe, a Malawian woman who has been living with HIV since 2015 and started taking IPT in 2017, faced a lot of adherence challenges taking IPT. Side effects include periodic skin rash, severe headaches, and sometimes extreme lethargy, which hindered her ability to complete her work. For most people living with HIV, the pill burden of taking antiretrovirals (ARVs) together with TPT continues to be a barrier, resulting in most people stopping their IPT.

At just 12 doses taken over 12 weeks, the 3HP regimen is shorter than IPT, and the new FDC tablets will make it even easier for people to complete. The tablets combine isoniazid with a second drug, rifapentine. A complete patient-course of 3HP using the Macleods FDC is priced at $15 for 138 countries under a Unitaid-negotiated agreement valid through 2021. The Global Fund Expert Review Panel has approved the Macleod’s FDC product, meaning countries can use donor resources from the Global Fund and U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to purchase it.

“People-centered responses need to go hand in hand with patient-friendly treatments. One can never exist without the other,” said Patricia Osero, Director of DACASA, Kenya. “There is now need for speed, as community education and mobilisation must translate into treatment access. Our programmes must initiate 3HP regimens with no further delays.”

The launch of this new 3HP formulation represents years of impatient advocacy by communities affected by TB and HIV. “Advocates built demand for 3HP in communities, conducted treatment literacy workshops to share information on the regimen, cleared potential patent barriers to generic entry, pushed governments to update TB prevention guidelines, and called on donors to commit to scaling-up short-course TPT regimens to meet the global goal of treating 30 million people with preventive therapy by 2022,” said Lynette Mabote, advocacy advisor with Treatment Action Group.

As HIV and TB communities continue to build a growing global movement for TPT access, Dr. Joaquim Manhique, the Director of civil society organization Kenguelekeze in Mozambique, calls on governments to prioritise TPT, particularly the 3HP regimen, within their TB and HIV catch-up plans as an emergency response to COVID-19. He joins his fellow comrades from Africa, Asia, and Latin America in calling for more generic manufacturers to enter the market, and for all suppliers to do the right thing and make the prices of these commodities affordable.

Signed by:

  1. Africa Young Positives Network AY+ (representing movements of 22 Young Positive Networks across sub-Saharan Africa)
  2. ANGAZA Foundation Malawi
  3. Association Kinouété, Mauritius
  4. Associação de Reintegração dos Jovens/Crianças na Vida Social (SCARJoV), Angola
  5. Beyond Initiative for Social Concern (BISC, Kenya)
  6. Carla Almeida – GAPA / RS – AIDS Prevention Support Group
  7. Center for Health and Development Impact (CHEDI)
  8. Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD)
  9. Coalition of women living with HIV and AIDS (COWLHA), Malawi
  10. Coalition of People Fighting HIV/AIDS In MIGORI (COPFAM), Kenya
  11. Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Malawi
  12. Children Education Society (CHESO), Tanzania
  13. CHREAA, Malawi
  14. Club des Amis Damien (CAD), Democratic Republic of Congo
  15. DACASA, Kenya
  16. Childlife Mozambique
  17. Eastern Africa National Network of AIDS and Health Services Organisations (EANNASO), East Africa region
  18. Facilitators of Community Transformation (FACT), Malawi
  19. Female Sex Workers Alliance (FSWA)
  20. Ghana TB Voices Network, Ghana
  21. Janna Health Foundation, Nigeria
  22. Jericho Village Community Health Workers, Kenya
  23. Jointed Hands Welfare Organisation, Zimbabwe
  24. Jose Carlos Veloso – São Paulo Tuberculosis Network
  25. Journalists Against AIDS, Malawi)
  26. JAPETI, Indonesia
  27. KHANA, Cambodia
  28. Kenguelekeze, Mozambique
  29. KELIN, Kenya
  30. Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO)
  31. Kind Heart Foundation, Africa
  32. KWISA Kenya
  33. Ladder for Rural Development, Malawi
  34. Men for Positive LIving Support Group( Kisumu, Kenya)
  35. Muleide, Mozambique
  36. National Association for People living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi (NAPHAM)
  37. Nelson Mandela TB/HIV COmmunity Information CBO
  38. Network of Post Test HIV and AIDS Community Organisation (NEPOTEHC)
  39. Network of TB Champions, Kenya
  40. Pamoja TB Group, Kenya
  41. Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition-Zimbabwe
  42. POP TB, Indonesia
  43. Pleaders of Children and Elderly People at Risk (PEPA), Democratic Republic of Congo
  44. REKAT DR-TB Organisation, Indonesia
  45. SANKALP Rehabilitation Trust, India
  46. Stop TB Partnership-Kenya
  47. Stop TB Partnership-ZimbabweTanzania AIDS Forum
  48. Tanzania Network of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (TNW+)
  49. Tanzania TB Community Network (TTCN)
  50. TB Proof, South Africa
  51. TransSmart, Zimbabwe
  52. Treatment Action Group, USA
  53. West Africa AIDS Foundation (WAAF)
  54. Wote Youth Development Project Makueni, Kenya
  55. Uganda Harm Reduction Network (UHRN)
  56. YAPBEC, Kenya
  57. ZAPHIT Support Program, Zambia
  58. ZERO TB Nairobi, Kenya
  59. Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (ZCLDN)
  60. Zimbabwe Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+)
  61. Zimbabwe Young Positive (ZY+)
  62. Lesotho Network of People Living With HIV and AIDS (LENEPWHA)
[1] Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe will be the first countries out of a total of 12 to provide the new regimen at a US$15 price thanks to funding from Unitaid, PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Additional information is available at https://www.impaact4tb.org/press-release-new-patient-friendly-tuberculosis-preventive-therapy-to-be-rolled-out-in-five-high-burden-tb-countries-at-affordable-price/

To request an interview, or for more information, please contact:

Global – Mike Frick at mike.frick@treatmentactiongroup.org
Africa – Lynette Mabote at lynette.mabote@treatmentactiongroup.org

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