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June 2018
News and events from the Centre this month

Thank you to everyone who contributed to content for this month’s newsletter.

Inside this month’s TB Centre Newsletter: 

1. UNGA update
2. Seminars
3. Social Protection Action Research and Knowledge Sharing
4. Eliminating catastrophic costs due to TB
5. National Tuberculosis, Leprosy, and Lung Disease Programme, Kenya
6. TB Centre MSc Project Fair
7. European Advanced Course in clinical tuberculosis
8. Conferences
9. Highlighted publication
10. Job opportunities


UNGA Update 

UK Academics and Professionals to end TB (UKAPTB) is a network of scientists and service delivery professionals affiliated to UK institutions involved in delivery of high quality research and clinical care for TB. The network was formed earlier this year following the announcement of the UNGA High Level Meeting (HLM) on TB, with the aim of harnessing the combined expertise of the members to inform the UNGA meeting. The LSHTM TB Centre was an early member of the network, and has been actively involved through participation in the network’s monthly teleconferences, helping drive the submission of proposals for scientific and community space sessions for the Union, coordinating a cross-institution open letter to the government requesting the Prime Minister’s attendance at the HLM, and participating in the HLM interactive civil society hearing in New York earlier this month. Up to date information about the activities of the network can be followed at:

LSHTM TB Centre Report on June 4 Interactive Civil Society Hearing for the UNGA on TB

2018 is a landmark year for TB, with the first ever United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Meeting (HLM) on the fight against tuberculosis planned for the 26th September in New York. The HLM aims to deliver an ambitious political declaration on TB endorsed by Heads of State, that will strengthen action and investments to end TB. In preparation for the upcoming meeting, Anna Vassall, Rebecca Harris and Titus Divala from the TB centre and four other colleagues from the UK academic network ‘UK Academics and Professionals to End TB’ (UKAPTB, attended an “interactive civil society” preparatory meeting on 4 June 2018 at UN headquarters in New York, organised by the President of the General Assembly, with the support of the World Health Organization and the Stop TB Partnership. The goal of this hearing was to provide a forum for input to member states from key stakeholders including TB academics, civil society, parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations, and affected communities.

Read more



Did you write to your MP? 

Help us to raise awareness of the UNGA and contact your MP to ask them to encourage Theresa May to attend.

Contacting your MP does have an impact – it is because of efforts like this that at the beginning of June there was the first debate on TB in the House of Commons in 65 years, so please do write to them! (You can use our letter template.)

Thank you to Katherine and Lisa for writing to their MPs so far. Let us know if you have contacted your MP by emailing us on



F1000 Special Collection

As part of the World TB Day Symposium this year we collaborated with F1000Research to produce a Special Collection.

The F1000 has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Open Research to support open research publishing platforms, and this is something we were keen to engage with this year. This series will be open on the lead up to the UNGA meeting on tuberculosis in September, and is an excellent platform to engage in the building conversation.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted to the collection so far. If you would like to submit an article you can find out how, here.



Upcoming Centre Seminars and Events

TB Centre Seminar | Jayne Sutherland (MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM)
Tuberculosis research in The Gambia
Wednesday 4 July 2018, 12:30 pm, LG8, Keppel Street TB Centre Seminar | Maximiliano G. Gutierrez (The Francis Crick Institute)
M. tuberculosis infection of host cells in time and space
Thursday 5 July 2018, 12:45 pm, LG6, Rose Room, Keppel Street
TB Centre Seminar | Gavin Churchyard (Aurum Institute)
TB preventive therapy: recent advances, policy & scale up
Wednesday 8 August 2018, 12:45 pm, LG9, Keppel Street

You can find more information about upcoming events on our website.


Related events:

PHE | UK Thread
The United Kingdom TB and HIV Research, Epidemiology and Development Collaboration
Monday 3 September 2018, 10:00 am, PHE Colindale



Social Protection Action Research and Knowledge Sharing

At the end of May, several LSHTM TB researchers attended the SPARKS (Social Protection Action Research and Knowledge Sharing) network meeting at the Karolinska Institute to disseminate the results of recent action-oriented research activity investigating the role of social protection in TB.

Key highlights from LSHTM researchers included research on government social protection as an effective measure of mitigating catastrophic costs for patients with MDR TB and the finding that ending poverty and increasing social protection coverage in line with SDG 1 could reduce TB incidence by 85% by 2035. TB Centre members interested in the wider activities of the SPARKS network or in becoming a member should contact

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Eliminating catastrophic costs due to TB

Policy impact of findings from Ghana’s national survey of costs faced by TB patients and their households. 

One of the three targets of the End TB Strategy is that no TB patients or their households should face “catastrophic total costs” due to TB, in line with policy efforts related to progress towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The inclusion of the indicator on catastrophic costs is new, reflecting the importance of alleviating the heavy financial burden of TB care as a key component to global TB elimination. To measure this indicator, countries are carrying out nationally representative TB patient cost surveys, which determine the proportion of TB patients who spend 20% or more of their household annual income on their TB diagnosis and care.

Read more.

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National Tuberculosis, Leprosy, and Lung Disease Programme, Kenya

In the thick of it: a three-month internship with the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy, and Lung Disease Programme in Kenya

Research shows that people with TB often face financial hardship because of having to pay for health services, and from not being able to work because of the illness. My PhD tries to show how governmental programs designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability might protect people with TB from experiencing financial hardship because of their illness. The case study for my PhD is focused on Brazil’s universal public health system called the Sistema Unico de Saude (SUS), and national programs such as the infamous Programa Bolsa Familia which have aimed to reduce national poverty and vulnerability. Evidence outlining the effect of these programs on TB control is slowly growing.

Read more.

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TB Centre MSc project fair

TB Centre student representatives organised an MSc Students’ Project Fair for all MSc students doing their summer projects on any aspect of TB.

The goal of the fair was to bring the MSc students and TB Centre experts, who are some of the leading global experts on TB, in one room for a rich but informal mentorship seminar. Opening the sessions, Titus Divala, TB Centre student representative, commended the students for being brave enough to organise their work and coming before an expert panel. He informed them that of the Centre’s commitment to invest expertise in students is one way of ensuring own expansion and continuity of its current global footing.

Read more, or watch the session.

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European Advanced Course in clinical tuberculosis

The next European Advanced Course in Clinical Tuberculosis in conjunction with the London Advanced Course in Tuberculosis, will take place at the Royal College of Physicians from 12 -14 November 2018.

This will include a training day for TB nurses (Monday) and for those managing MDR-TB (Wednesday).

Find out about the provisional program and how to register

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The 5th SA TB Conference took place 12 – 15 June 2018, where members of the TB Centre presented. To find out more about Centre member presentations as well as the conference programme, click here.


TB 2018 (July)

TB 2018 is an official pre-conference of the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018). The meeting will take place Sunday, 22 July 2018, at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre, just prior to AIDS 2018.It is co-hosted by the International AIDS Society (IAS) in collaboration with the Stop TB Partnership and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). More details.

The Union World Conference 2018 (Oct)

The 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health in The Hague, The Netherlands, will take place between 24 – 27 October 2018 and bring together researchers, global advocates, scientists, healthcare professionals, students and community members working on all aspects of lung health.The conference theme, Declaring Our Rights: Social and Political Solutions, highlights that to eliminate TB and achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals requires a coordinated public health response driven by the human rights of each individual. More details.


Union World Conference post-graduate course

As part of the conference, the Karolinska Institutet and the Global TB Programme at the World Health Organisation have organised a post-graduate course, An introduction to national tuberculosis patient cost surveys.

The course will outline the rationale for TB patient cost surveys and will explain global progress in implementation. Attendees will work through the practical steps involved in designing and implementing a national TB patient cost survey and the application of these results to policy and practice. The speakers will explain: the design of TB patient cost surveys; sampling techniques for TB patient cost surveys; how to collect, manage and analyse data from a TB patient cost survey; and how to ensure results inform policy-making and practice. Additional research ideas will be discussed.

Find out more about the course contentregister through the main conference page, or contact the course organisers, Andrew Siroka or Kerri Viney.

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Highlighted publication

Evidence-informed policy making at country level: lessons learned from the South African Tuberculosis Think Tank

National Tuberculosis Programmes (NTPs) require specialist input to support the development of policy and practice informed by evidence, typically against tight deadlines.

To describe lessons learned from establishing a dedicated tuberculosis (TB) think tank to advise the South African NTP on TB policy.

A national TB think tank was established to advise the NTP in support of evidence-informed policy. Support was provided for activities, including meetings, modelling and regular telephone calls, with a wider network of unpaid expert advisers under an executive committee and working groups. Intervention evaluation used desktop analysis of documentary evidence, interviews and direct observation.

The TB Think Tank evolved over time to acquire three key roles: an ‘institution’, a ‘policy dialogue forum’ and an ‘interface’. Although enthusiasm was high, motivating participation among the NTP and external experts proved challenging. Motivation of working groups was most successful when aligned to a specific need for NTP decision making. Despite challenges, the TB Think Tank contributed to South Africa’s first ever TB and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) investment case, and the decision to create South Africa’s first ever ring-fenced grant for TB. The TB Think Tank also assisted the NTP in formulating strategy to accelerate progress towards reaching World Health Organization targets.

With partners, the TB Think Tank achieved major successes in supporting evidence-informed decision making, and garnered increased funding for TB in South Africa. Identifying ways to increase the involvement of NTP staff and other experts, and keeping the scope of the Think Tank well defined, could facilitate greater impact. Think tank initiatives could be replicated in other settings to support evidence-informed policy making.

Read the paper.
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Job opportunities

Domain expert antimicrobial resistance (AMR) (postdoctoral fellow)

The Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) is seeking a postdoctoral fellow who will be part of a larger team that conducts research to better understand antimicrobial resistance (AMR) patterns and key drivers of AMR emergence. The project aims to close current knowledge gaps on the prevalence of AMR, especially in those countries with weaker health systems. Such knowledge is essential to guide antimicrobial treatment decisions, such as choice of empirical treatment at national, regional or local level, and to prioritize interventions aimed at reducing AMR. Complex systems modeling, and analysis will be a key component of the research, to better interpret available data and discover unidentified drivers and trends of AMR.

WHO consultancy

To support the Research for TB Elimination (RTE) team in the production of a final report of the workshop on “Advances in Clinical Trial Design for Development of New TB Treatments”. To coordinate the production of a special medical journal issue devoted to aspects of new clinical trial designs for investigation of TB treatments, relying on the main key-note papers presented at and for the workshop.

Find out more about both opportunities.

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