By Kiley Workman, Project Associate, SIAPS Program
Despite lingering jet lag, the atmosphere was friendly and energized at Sunday night’s welcome reception for the Global TB Conference, hosted by the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program and the Stop TB Partnership Global Drug Facility (GDF). During this kick-off event, 76 participants from 20 countries prepared for the week’s discussions by gathering in small, informal groups to answer three questions:
- What are you currently doing to improve access to TB medicines and pharmaceutical services?
- What are you learning about what you are doing?
- What do you need to know in order to do more and/or better?
Answers varied extensively, especially considering the mix of roles and backgrounds of conference participants. In attendance were National TB Program (NTP) managers, procurement and supply management leads and data management leads, as well as representatives from SIAPS, GDF, WHO and other partners.
Responses to the questions aligned well with the week’s agenda to feature country experiences using tested approaches to prevent TB medicine stock-outs, increase TB case detection through private sector engagement, and ensure patient safety during TB treatment. One participant mentioned that a functional pharmaceutical system must be in place before introducing an electronic tool, such as QuanTB, and stressed that such a tool is not sufficient to prevent stock-outs without system-wide support. Another noted the importance of partnership and high-quality data (rather than just large quantities of data) in improving access not only to medicines, but also to diagnostics.
The conversation that started during the welcome reception will be carried forward throughout the week’s sessions. For more information about the Global TB Conference 2015, visit the webpage, and follow #TBmeds2015 on Facebook and Twitter.