Lack of access to reliable drug-susceptibility testing (DST) is a critical public health challenge posed by drug resistant forms of tuberculosis (TB). Drug-susceptibility testing means testing to find out if a person has drug resistant TB. On average, it is estimated that 50% of those in need of second-line drug-susceptibility testing in high burden countries do not receive it.
To better understand the barriers that stand in the way of patient access to this life-saving testing, BD and USAID formed a partnership, called STRIDES (Strengthen TB Resistance Testing and Diagnostic Systems).
As part of the partnership, BD and USAID are working with the National TB Elimination Program (NTEP) in India to strengthen liquid culture (the standard of care for TB diagnosis and patient management in industrialized countries) and drug susceptibility testing across all 55 labs in the national network to improve detection and appropriate treatment for multi-drug resistant TB patients across the country. Key FY2019 highlights of this partnership include:
- Development of a first-of-its-kind lab assessment tool for liquid culture and drug susceptibility testing for TB;
- Completion of an assessment of the Specimen Referral System (SRS) for sputum samples;
- Progress towards an integrated, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-enabled, barcode-enabled software for tracking specimen to help reduce the turnaround time from sample collection to diagnosis and treatment; and
- Strengthened data management systems for tracking specimen results and optimizing lab workflow.
At the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Hyderabad, India, USAID honored BD for its commitment to strengthening the national TB program in India.
“The BD-USAID STRIDES partnership has enabled us to conduct lab assessments and lab staff trainings at our public sector Liquid Culture and Drug Susceptibility Testing sites, which are critical to our National Tuberculosis Elimination Program. The BD-USAID STRIDES team brings innovation and technical expertise to the table, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with them to achieve the goal of eliminating TB from India by 2025,” said Dr. Nishant Kumar, Deputy Director, Central TB Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India.
In FY2019, BD signed a memorandum of understanding with USAID to expand the STRIDES program to Indonesia – with the goal of working across four national labs and 15 labs that are part of the country’s TB diagnostics network.
Driving a global conversation about drug-resistant tuberculosis
BD and USAID also partnered with an award-winning documentary filmmaker in India to launch “TB Talk, Unmasked,” a platform through which policy makers, TB survivors and treating physicians can share their unique stories and perspectives.