Map of Ethiopia

Tuberculosis

A mother and child on multidrug-resistant treatment at Borumeda Hospital
A mother and child on multidrug-resistant treatment at Borumeda Hospital
Dr. Yohanes Molla, HEAL TB/MSH

USAID focuses on saving thousands of lives by supporting the Government of Ethiopia to strengthen treatment, detection, and referral services to combat Tuberculosis (TB) in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has the eighth highest TB burden in the world. With the Global Health Initiative, USAID will improve and expand TB diagnostic and treatment services and screening in rural areas and among HIV positives, who make up 20 percent of TB cases each year. USAID TB activities provide support to increase availability and demand for TB prevention, care and treatment services through improved national and regional level TB activity management and technical capacity; achieve universal DOTS coverage; scale-up programmatic management of Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB); enhance collaborative TB/HIV services; strengthen health systems with a focus on improving TB medicines and commodities supply, monitoring and evaluation of TB activities; and develop human resource capacity.

Mary is five years old and lives in Africa. A community health worker helped her realize that her persistent cough may be TB. Watch this video to learn about Mary's story and the challenges of childhood TB. 

Video Transcript 
Hi, my name is Mary. I am almost 5 years old and live in Africa. For many weeks, I was not feeling well, and too weak to go to school. I did not even want to play with my friends. Also, I had been coughing all day and night and was not interested in eating. Because I was starting to lose weight, my mom took me to the drug seller in our village. He said I might have pneumonia and gave me cough medicine. It did not make me feel any better. I continued to cough and have fevers at night and lose weight. One day the community health worker visited our village, and she talked to our people about tuberculosis and how it was a big problem in our area. When she heard that I was sick with a cough and that my dad had died of HIV/AIDS last year, she encouraged my mom to bring me to the clinic. There at the clinic, they asked me to try to cough up sputum so that they could look at it under the microscope. But I could not cough up anything for them and unfortunately, they have no other test to figure out what makes me cough. However, they told me I probably have TB and might have gotten it from my dad who had a bad cough for the months before he died. Because the clinic has no drugs for little kids my age, they gave me a lot of pills – which look too big to swallow and which my mommy has to crush up for me every day. They say that I have to take them every day for many weeks. Thankfully, our community health worker comes by my hut every day to help me and my mom with my pills and to check up on me. It is easy to forget about my pills, since my mom gets busy with my younger brother and sister. It has been very hard to have TB because when other people heard about me, they would not let my friends come to play with me. But I am feeling much better now and someday, when I grow up, I am going to help other children with TB by discovering a better way to diagnose TB in children and to create drugs that are made for kids my size. I also want to help people diagnose TB earlier. Perhaps I would still have a daddy to hug me if they had found out that his cough was because he had TB. TB is curable!

Achievements of USAID funded TB control efforts include strengthened TB program capacity at national and regional levels including enhancing private sector involvement through private public mix-directly observed treatment, short-course (PPM-DOTS); expanded TB laboratory microscopy and culture capacity; community TB care; and MDR-TB activity expansion. USAID helped Ethiopia achieve treatment success rates of more than 90 percent and TB case detection rate of 59 percent which still needs further enhancement to reach the global targets. TB mortality has been reduced to 18 percent (WHO Global TB Report 2012). Through USAID support, Ethiopia has been able to start the treatment of almost 1,200 MDR-TB patients nationally by the beginning of 2014.

Activities include

  • Help Ethiopia Address Low TB Performance (HEAL TB): Improve TB detection and treatment in populous Amhara and Oromia regions by providing comprehensive tuberculosis program support at regional, zonal, woreda (district) and health facility levels as well as strengthening community level TB program support through the existing Health Extension Program

  • TB CARE I: Provide support on a national as well as regional (Tigray and SNNP regions) level TB treatment expansion and enhancement, TB/HIV collaboration, MDR-TB treatment and detection, and health system strengthening program technical and management support at national and regional levels

  • Private Health Sector Program (PHSP): Enhance the private public partnership in TB control program through implementation of PPM-DOTS and covers selected private facilities in five administrative regions and two administrative cities through the existing private health service providers

We CAN have a world with zero TB deaths. Watch the animated video on TB and don’t forget to share and spread the word! Learn more about USAID’s  TB programs.

Video Transcript 
TB Fast Draw Script
For centuries, tuberculosis or TB has been one of mankind’s most challenging diseases. In 400 BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates identified TB as the most widespread disease of ancient Greece, and it was almost always fatal.
TB is a disease that can spread through the air and infect others, usually when a person with TB coughs or sneezes. More than 2 billion people—one-third of the world’s total population—are infected with TB. In healthy people, the body is able to defend itself against TB, and those people do not have symptoms and they cannot spread TB. However, when someone becomes sick with TB, they can transmit it to others through the air.
Today, TB is the second-leading cause of death from an infectious disease worldwide. Every year around 1.3 million people die of TB. That is one death every 18 seconds. TB usually affects the lungs but can affect any organ in the body.
TB is especially common among poor and underserved populations, and now, a growing number of people are getting a kind of TB that does not respond to medicines normally used to treat it, and instead, requires special drugs that are often difficult to take because of serious and toxic side effects, including permanent hearing loss. This is called drug-resistant TB.
Also, people with HIV/AIDS are more likely to become sick with TB because their body’s defenses are already weakened by the HIV virus. TB remains a major cause of death throughout the world where people also have HIV.
We have made remarkable progress against both TB and HIV in the last several years. The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, is a global leader in the fight against TB. USAID works with partners around the world to make available proven approaches to help diagnose, treat and care for people with TB.
In partnership with the World Health Organization and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the U.S. is leading the charge to improve TB diagnosis and treatment and to address the challenges of drug resistant TB and co-infection with HIV/AIDS.
Early diagnosis of TB is important so that patients can be quickly treated. This also helps the community control the spread of TB. The U.S. Government is supporting the worldwide use of GeneXpert, an innovative diagnostic test for TB, especially the kind of TB that is resistant to commonly used TB drugs. The test provides results in under two hours, and is now available in nearly 100 countries that may not have the resources on their own to pay for and use the test.
There is also the promise of a new, more tolerable, TB drug – the first one in almost 50 years.
Because of strong global partnerships and U.S. Government-supported programs, we have succeeded in driving down deaths from TB – but, the global fight against this disease remains fragile. We now have the capability of ensuring a world free of TB, and yet sadly, millions of people across the globe continue to die from this curable disease. The lack of funds and new tools and drugs threaten the progress made in improving TB programs and in continuing to reduce the number of TB cases.
But we CAN eliminate TB…through working with large and small organizations across the globe committed to defeating TB, through scientific research aimed at developing bold new tools and effective drugs, through making people aware of TB and showing how they can make a difference, and by identifying TB cases early, and treating them successfully, we can create communities around the world that are TB-free.
TB knows no boundaries or barriers. It targets the poor and vulnerable, but ANYONE can get it. The time to act is now. Let’s work together to push for zero deaths from TB and to make TB care and treatment available to everyone who needs it.

Last updated: July 30, 2014

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