TREAT TB provides technical assistance to national TB programs to improve TB control. In the Philippines, TREAT TB is providing a comprehensive package of technical assistance 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.

To address the burden of MDR-TB, the Philippines National TB Program (NTP) has introduced the short treatment regimen, which was conditionally recommended by the WHO in 2016.

TREAT TB has 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 includes 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 has 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.