New Frontiers: Innovation and Access
I am honoured to welcome participants and guests of the International Symposium "New Frontiers: Innovation and Access to the Treatment of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis" focused on innovative technologies in TB care. The Symposium is organised as part of a long-term and efficient scientific and practical cooperation between the National TB Programme and the international humanitarian organisation "Médecins Sans Frontières".
The year 2018 was marked with the 20th anniversary of cooperation between the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the international humanitarian organisation "Médecins Sans Frontières". As a result of this cooperation, TB burden in the Republic of Karakalpakstan has decreased, morbidity and mortality resulting from this terrible disease have reduced, and new methods of TB diagnosis and treatment have been implemented.
The International Symposium is unique: it is an open platform to share expertise with the world's leading experts specialising in innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to TB care and new TB treatments. It is an occasion to review the latest successes of international integration and intersectoral cooperation in eliminating TB globally. It is a starting point to build a single platform for strategic decisions aimed at meeting the targets of the End TB Strategy set by the World Health Assembly.
In dialogue with experts, the International Symposium provides an opportunity to strengthen partnerships between countries as well as share experiences in the fight against TB and the implementation of new approaches and models of TB care at both regional and international levels.
One thing is clear: we can be stronger and more confident in the fight against TB only if we strive to understand each other and recognise the things that unite us. Indeed, cooperation between various regional and international organisations is crucial for mutual understanding.
An example of cooperation between the National TB Programme and "Médecins Sans Frontières" is the inclusion of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the international multicentre clinical trial of innovative TB treatment regimens containing new TB drugs, with two trial sites opened in Nukus and Tashkent for this purpose.
I hope that all participants of the International Symposium will work fruitfully, cooperate successfully, and enjoy worthwhile and productive meetings, as well as strengthen relations and contacts between scientists and specialists of different countries.
Minister of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan
It is my pleasure to welcome all of you to the 8th regional tuberculosis symposium. I join the Minister of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Alisher Kayumovich Shadmanov, in extending my thanks to all of our dear colleagues for their participation and I look forward to fruitful discussions that will take place over these two days. MSF has partnered with the Uzbekistan Ministry of Health in combating TB since 1998. Over the course of the past 20 years, MSF and the Ministry of Health have made great strides in the fight against TB, as have many of the TB programmes represented in this hall today. By coming together in this forum we have a unique opportunity to extend our respective successes even further. By sharing our experiences and lessons learned, achievements in one country can have ripple effects throughout the region and indeed the wider world. The collective expertise gathered at this symposium represents the frontier of TB treatment in the world. The level of commitment shared by participants at this symposium is both humbling and inspiring, and I commend our participants for their unwavering efforts in eradicating TB. We are bound together by a common mission to alleviate the suffering of those affected by this disease. We are motivated by lives of our patients and the courage they display fighting TB. It is this sense of service, and shared goal to improve care for our patients, that brings us together today and drives us forward.
The theme for this year’s symposium is “New Frontiers: Innovation and Access”, capturing both the great promise on the horizon of TB care, as well as the challenging road that must be traveled to reach there. Whether it is in diagnostics or treatment, innovations in TB care have the potential to make treatment both more tolerable and more effective. TB treatment can be grueling, but innovations like shorter or modified regimens, new drugs, or more patient-centred diagnostics can help to ease this experience for those suffering from TB. However, what good is innovation if patients cannot access the benefits now made available? What good are new drugs, if they cannot be procured and prescribed as needed? Indeed, what innovations do our patients truly want, and how can they benefit from recent advancements? Accordingly, innovation must always be considered alongside access. Where innovation meets access significant impact can be achieved. I invite all of our participants to engage on this issue, and the many issues that will be presented, over the next two days; to challenge one another and to be challenged. By doing so, together we will chart a path to a world without TB.
Victor Garcia Leonor,
Head of Mission for Médecins Sans Frontières in Uzbekistan
Previous Regional TB symposia
Have a look at the documentation websites of previous MSF Regional TB symposia:
2012: in Bishkek, Kyrgysztan: TB Care - A Patient Centred Approach