India: Mumbai TB Symposium Focuses on Advancing TB Treatment and Collaboration

10 June 2024, Mumbai: A pivotal symposium organised today by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders brought together a diverse coalition of experts and stakeholders to forge actionable strategies against Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (DRTB). This crucial gathering aimed to highlight the key successes and challenges in the battle against TB, with an emphasis on enhancing the availability and efficacy of diagnostics and treatments for DRTB in Mumbai. 

The keynote address was delivered by Dr Sudhakar Shinde, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health) in Bombay Municipal Commissioner (BMC). He emphasized the critical role of health investments in combating TB in the city.  

Dr Sudhakar Shinde, Additional Minicipal Commissioner (Health) in Bombai Municipal Commissioner (BMC), giving the keynote address at the Mumbai TB Symposium, 10 June 2024. ©MSF
We are committed to improving our TB response in Mumbai. We are allocating additional funds to renovate Sewri Hospital and turn it into a well-equipped TB center. It is commendable that organisations like MSF join our fight against TB. They bring key lessons from other countries which help us strengthen our program and learn from other successful interventions. The evolution of TB continues to pose challenges, but with strengthened collaboration between NTEP and partners like MSF, we can make significant strides towards eliminating TB.
Dr Sudhakar Shinde
Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health) in Bombay Municipal Commissioner (BMC)

Dr Daksha Shah, Executive Health Officer (EHO) and Dr. Varsha Puri, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) from the BMC, provided insightful presentations on the current state of TB in Mumbai. 

MSF’s medical team highlighted the organization’s extensive work in Mumbai since 1999, covering HIV, HIV-TB coinfections, Drug resistant Tuberculosis (DRTB), COVID-19, and emergency responses. The presentation focused on the challenges faced in diagnostics and treatment for TB, especially access to the Imipenem-based salvage regimen, which has shown promising results in the treatment of DRTB. A panel discussion on ‘Salvage Regimen – Using Imipenem in TB Treatment’delved deeper into the effectiveness and the need for wider adoption of the drug in public DRTB treatment centres.  

Imtiaz Wadud, Head of Operations for MSF, expressed the importance of continued innovation and collaboration in TB treatment.

Imtiaz Wadud, Head of Operations for MSF, sharing his insights at the Mumbai TB Symposium, 10 June 2024. ©MSF
Our efforts in Mumbai have demonstrated the critical impact of advanced diagnostics and new drug regimens on patient outcomes. However, to truly combat drug-resistant TB, it is essential that we work together with local health authorities and international partners to ensure these advancements are accessible to all who need them. The success of our programs in Mumbai showcases the potential of these strategies, but there is still much work to be done to eliminate TB globally.
Imtiaz Wadud
MSF Head of Operations

Key lessons on  pediatric TB diagnostics and treatment challenges were presented by Dr Ira Shah from Wadia Hospital and Dr Sushant Mane from JJ Hospital. They emphasized the importance of early diagnosis through simplified diagnostic tools, using stool samples for genotypic tests and improving access to pediatric formulations for TB/DRTB treatment in children. An engaging partner presentation by Doctors for You underscored the collaborative efforts required to tackle TB effectively. The symposium also featured a presentation on the clinical trial results of the endTB project, which provided valuable insights into the outcomes of shorter TB treatment regimens. 

In Mumbai, MSF and the National TB Elimination Program (NTEP) have collaborated since 2016 to enhance care for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (DRTB). This partnership focuses on areas previously lacking DRTB medical services. Innovations include advanced diagnostics such as GeneXpert and the introduction of new drugs like Bedaquiline and Delamanid, significantly improving patient outcomes and healthcare infrastructure. As MSF transitions the clinic operations to NTEP by 2024, advocacy and partnerships remain crucial to sustain achievements and address ongoing challenges. 

Dr Sudhakar Shinde, Additional Minicipal Commissioner (Health) in Bombai Municipal Commissioner (BMC), giving the keynote address at the Mumbai TB Symposium, 10 June 2024. ©MSF

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