This morning Ruvandhi and I attended the operational research course given by Tony Harries and Rony Zachariah. The course is focused on training people to collect and analyze public health data and publish the results.
Afterwards, along with Jurgens, we spoke with Rony about the crisis that is nosocomial TB transmission in health facilities.
After discussing Ebola and XDR-TB, we came to the conclusion that there is urgency for WHO to set up a dedicated unit that will liase with Ministries of Health. This unit will be an umbrella body that will focus on health worker safety and infection control, not only for TB transmission, but for all infectious diseases. Health worker safety needs serious attention and won’t work by piggybacking atop routine programmatic activities. We need the political will, resources, monitoring and evaluation, and accountability.
Such a unit would have a team of experienced practitioners from a variety of disciplines. It would have a generous budget. From a TB perspective, the unit could focus on counting the number of health care workers who acquired LTBI or active TB, implementing FAST in every facility, natural ventilation, UVGI, etc. Small implementation teams could use the Atul Gawande model from Sharing Slow Ideas. We emphasize the importance of human-to-human “accompaniment” — similar to the Partners in Health model.
The US government, European governments, and private individuals/foundations should take the lead in financing this to get it off the ground but it needs a stable funding stream.
What do you think?
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