From breaking new grounds in the labs and on the ground, we continued to strengthen Bangladesh to succeed in its fight against the age-old threat of tuberculosis.
Contrary to what many think, tuberculosis is still a problem in Bangladesh. We are still among the world’s 30 high TB burden countries. Each year, around 362,000 new TB cases are identified and an estimated 73,000 people lose their lives to it.
BRAC has been working with the Government of Bangladesh and foreign partners since the 80s to build resilience and end the epidemic once and for all. While we have made significant progress so far, the disease is still considered the world’s most lethal infectious disease.
We have managed to break some new ground in 2018:
Standing by more people: The TB control programme has identified 193,494 new TB cases between January to December 2018, 23% more than the initial target
Reaching more, doing more: Our free-of-cost services have reached around 60% of total population through 62 new diagnostic centres, of which 6 are dedicated for the Rohingyas living in the camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Embracing new technology: We have successfully scaled GeneXpert testing technology across Bangladesh, allowing for tests to get done in less than two hours, which has increased treatment success rate by 94%
While also sharing lessons with the world:
September, 2018: BRAC was the only civil society organisation in the world to attend the UN General Assembly’s first high level meeting on TB. Sir Fazle highlighted BRAC’s success in tackling the disease on a large-scale through service delivery innovations that are attuned to the realities on the ground.
October, 2018: BRAC was invited to attend the 49th Union Conference on Lung Health at The Hague, where Dr Akramul Islam, director of BRAC TB and malaria control programme, along with his team shared learnings from their work on the ground covering a wide range of areas – from harnessing the power of community health workers to rethinking interventions for vulnerable groups in urban areas.
Asif Ahmad is a senior communications officer at BRAC Tuberculosis Programme.