Global experts advocate ‘most vulnerable first’ approach at MSF’s regional TB conference in Nepal

Over 20 leading experts and practitioners in the field of tuberculosis (TB) research and healthcare presented their research at the 3rd edition of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) South Asia TB Day in Kathmandu, Nepal. Organized in collaboration with Nepal’s National Tuberculosis Control Centre (NTCC), this crucial scientific conference convened over 80 medical experts and academics from South Asia to exchange knowledge and reflections on challenges and breakthroughs in TB treatment and management.

The daylong event, which was spread across one keynote address and four-panel discussions, emphasized the need for increased funding, TB management in complex settings – conflict zones to densely populated Urban areas, and the latest vaccine trials to drive the conversation toward social determinants and preventive measures to create a comprehensive approach to effective TB control. Speakers at the event included Dr Prajowl Shrestha (NTCC, Nepal), Dr Banu Rekha (ICMR), Rajesh Kumar Yadav (Save the Children, Nepal), Dr Samsuddin Khan (MSF, India), Dr Ni Ni Tun (Myanmar Oxford Clinical Research Unit, Myanmar), Mike Frick (Treatment Action Group, USA), Dr Saifullah Khan (MSF, Pakistan), Dr Adeel Tahir (Mercy Corps International, Pakistan), and Dr Kritika Dixit (Birat Nepal Medical Trust) among others.


TB Day is meant to create a space that fosters collaboration, brings in one place the diversity of voice, lived experiences and action, all together with one aim to accelerate towards elimination of TB. The day aims to contribute to the on-going discourse around different aspects of TB care and amplify patient and community perspectives to make sure nobody is left behind. This year we focus on conversations on social determinants around TB and how there needs to be integration of resource allocation and aligning of program strategies to achieve the desired progress.
Farhat Mantoo
Executive Director, MSF South Asia

Dr. Anurag Bhargava, Professor of Medicine, and Dr. Madhavi Bhargava, Associate Professor of Community Medicine delivered the keynote, both esteemed members of Yenepoya Medical College in Mangalore, India. They shared profound insights on ‘Nutritional supplementation to prevent TB incidence in household contacts of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis’. Their combined expertise and dedication have significantly contributed to advancements in TB care and public health. They have been featured in prestigious medical journals such as The Lancet for their inventive approach to combating tuberculosis.


Recognizing hurdles that geographical barriers and limited healthcare infrastructure pose in TB treatment, Dr Prajowl Shrestha, Director, NTCC Nepal says, “We are implementing innovative strategies such as mobile clinics, mobilizing community health workers, extensive awareness campaigns, and strengthening collaboration with Palika-level authorities through the TB Free Nepal Initiatives. These efforts underscore our commitment to ensuring that every individual, regardless of their geographical location, receives timely and effective TB care.”


The talks and discussions at MSF TB Day 2024 explored future-focused approaches to TB care delivery, integration of new technologies, and community-based strategies for prevention and treatment. The regional TB conference also served as a platform for the cross-fertilization of ideas and innovations in the region, as well as a space to network and forge partnerships with stakeholders of South Asian countries.

Tuberculosis remains a major public health problem in Bangladesh. BRAC, a community-based organization, addresses this issue by involving local communities as health workers/volunteers. They conduct active case finding through door-to-door mobilization, offer health education and information about patient's rights to reduce stigma, provide preventive and curative treatment (DOT) with follow-up. Additionally, BRAC supports poor DS-TB/all DR-TB cases with investigation, transport, and nutritional assistance for better treatment adherence. To enhance community engagement, the establishment of a community-led monitoring system is crucial.
Dr Shayla Islam
Associate Director for Communicable Disease, BRAC Health Programme

TB Day 2024 is aimed at increasing awareness about TB-related challenges and showcasing the evolving strategies that are being implemented to address them.  It endeavors to play a pivotal role in mobilizing support and action towards ending the global TB epidemic.

About Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) South Asia:

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) South Asia is a leading humanitarian medical organization dedicated to providing life-saving healthcare and emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and exclusion from healthcare. MSF operates in some of the most challenging and remote regions, delivering essential medical services impartially and without discrimination. With a strong commitment to serving vulnerable populations, MSF South Asia strives to address pressing health issues, advocate for access to quality healthcare, and drive positive change in the region. Through innovative programs and collaboration with local communities, MSF South Asia continues to make a significant impact on the lives of millions, offering hope and medical relief when it is needed most.

Show Buttons
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Linkedin
Contact us
Hide Buttons