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Grant Results in FIRST Center In Asia to Combat Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(New York, United States and Manila, Philippines) The World Lung Foundation today announced that a grantee, the Tropical Disease Foundation, has opened the first International Tuberculosis Center in Asia to combat Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB). The state-of-the-art facility will provide treatment, research, training and a steady supply of much-needed medications in the Philippines and across Asia.

The new center will host a TB Treatment Center, a TB laboratory, and a new Training Center in MDR-TB, one of the most dangerous and fastest growing forms of the disease. The new training curriculum will begin for clinicians in May, 2008.

“Early detection and treatment are proven to be the most effective weapons in fighting TB, but there is a critical shortage of technical, financial and human resources to do the basics,” said Dr. Thelma Tupasi, President of the Tropical Disease Foundation, “The World Lung Foundation and other donors have made it possible to increase capacity across Asia to help patients.”

“The World Lung Foundation is proud to support the creation of a technologically advanced center devoted to fighting TB in the Philippines and around Asia,” said Peter Baldini, Executive Director of the World Lung Foundation. “We believe it will be a place where the tremendously talented people of the Tropical Disease Foundation can advance and share their knowledge for the benefit of patients throughout the region.”

Tuberculosis — a disease that is both preventable and curable – affects almost nine million people annually around the world. Untreated, a person with active TB will infect an average of 10 to 15 other people over the course of a 12-month period. Each year, more than a million-and-a-half people die from the disease. TB is the 6th leading cause of illness and the 6th leading cause of deaths among Filipinos.

Compounding the international health epidemic of TB, a new strain –extensive multidrug-resistant tuberculosis — has recently been documented in 45 nations around the world.
In light of these alarming statistics, the center has taken innovative steps to combat the disease. It will implement an automated drug inventory system, new to the Philippines, but implemented in other nations — that will ensure a reliable supply of fresh medications and reduce the costs of managing, storing, and distributing vital TB medicines, making health care more effective and economic.

This new system will employ Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology, which uses tiny computer chips to automatically identify and track the demand and supply of medicine quickly and accurately. This is a critical improvement over the manual system, under which errors in ordering are frequently made, resulting in medicine shortages or inefficient surpluses.

The opening of the International Tuberculosis Center for Asia was made possible by support from World Lung Foundation; Ayala Corporation; the Angelo King Foundation; Mrs. Antoinette Magallanes-Fu; Pablo R. Antonio Designs and Consultancy, Inc; Unilever; Metrostonerich; and Argus Construction.

About the Tropical Disease Foundation

The Tropical Disease Foundation is dedicated to the control and prevention of infectious diseases of public health importance through service, training and research in collaboration with the National TB Program, Philippine Department of Health, and other partners. The TDF has been implementing the programmatic management of drug-resistant TB (PMDT) since 2000 when it was approved by the Green Light Committee as the first DOTS-Plus Pilot Project. The TDF is a Principal Recipient of the Global Fund against AIDS, TB, and Malaria (GFATM) –supported projects on TB, Malaria and HIV. For more information, please visit http://www.tdf.org.ph/