Helping to fight TB on the ground

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Alongside our ongoing TB dedicated research, we work with NGOs and other organisations helping vulnerable communities to strengthen their healthcare capabilities.

In some parts of the developing world, the availability of medicines isn’t always the main challenge. Access to healthcare also depends on having a functional healthcare system, trained healthcare workers and effective supply and distribution mechanisms in place to ensure that medicines are used to their full effect as part of overall health management.

To help meet these challenges, we partner with Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and other organisations working with local communities to strengthen their frameworks for delivering healthcare in TB and other disease areas in a sustainable way.

We have defined some common criteria to guide our commitment and ensure that all our partnerships centre on delivering meaningful and enduring benefit.

The key principles are that they:

  • Lead to positive, measurable outcomes in under-served communities.
  • Can be scaled up and potentially replicated to improve outcomes for a greater number of people.
  • Deliver a sustainable framework that can ultimately be owned and managed locally, without the need for our support.

Such partnerships can also contribute to our business development, by enabling us to understand better the health needs of, and build important relationships in, markets of the future.

Our current partnerships are primarily focused on helping hard-hit communities in Asia and Africa to combat TB, which is on the increase in these regions.

A significant problem in the treatment of TB is not the availability of effective medicines, but the fact that treatment regimes are long and complicated. This means that many patients give up the treatment once the symptoms are no longer apparent, but before the infection is fully treated. This can lead to relapse which makes drug resistance more likely. Encouraging patients to finish their course of treatment is therefore critical.

Another major challenge is that TB and HIV form a potentially lethal combination, each speeding the other’s progress. TB is also the biggest killer of people living with HIV. And, as well as the threat to health, both diseases also have a social stigma attached to them, which can create added difficulties for patients in their communities.

Read more about how we are supporting the Red Cross and AMREF in their work to address these complex issues at a community level.

Whilst we remain committed to making a contribution to improving healthcare in the developing world, we believe that real progress can only be made through the commitment of all the related stakeholders. These include governments, NGOs and the international community, as well as the private sector. Only by working together can sustainable improvements be achieved.
 

LabTalk is AstraZeneca’s science-focused blog where you can hear from scientists, researchers and academics discussing novel ideas, research and innovation.

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