TREAT TB provides technical assistance to national TB programs to improve TB control. From October 2016 to March 2019, TREAT TB provided a comprehensive package of technical assistance to the Philippines National TB Program to support national scale-up of the standard short treatment regimen for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

Dr. Chen-Yuan Chiang from The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease discusses programmatic implementation of the shorter treatment regimen for MDR-TB with regional NTP staff, The Philippines.

Tuberculosis is a major public health problem in the Philippines, and MDR-TB is a particular challenge, with an estimated 18,000 cases in 2018. Treatment outcomes for MDR-TB are typically worse than those for patients with drug-sensitive TB, in significant part due to the length of treatment and the potential for adverse effects from second-line medications.

TREAT TB  supported the NTP with programmatic implementation of the standard short treatment regimen for MDR-TB (SSTR) through a multi-year project. The project aimed to link international best practices and research results into practice for new treatment regimens.

Our work included in-depth, onsite technical assistance for clinicians and program managers focused on responding to clinical and programmatic challenges encountered during the national scale-up of the SSTR, training doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers on clinical management of MDR-TB, strengthening the country’s pool of trainers, and capacity building in operational research.  TREAT TB also advised on the NTP’s implementing guidelines for the SSTR and designed a comprehensive data quality improvement plan to improve reliability of program data.