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CISM LAUNCHES THE MANHIÇA TUBERCULOSIS INITIATIVE (MTBI)


Launched on March 21, 2024, the Manhiça Tuberculosis Initiative (MTBI) is committed to advancing research, strengthening partnerships and enhancing the impact of the Manhiça Health Research Center (CISM) efforts in the field of tuberculosis through communication and advocacy activities.

 

With 14,000 deaths from tuberculosis in Mozambique in 2022 alone, the country is still among the 30 countries with the highest rates of TB worldwide. “The tuberculosis situation in the country is critical, but compared to previous years we consider that we are on a good path, as we have managed to improve the TB detection and notification rate at the national level. We have also improved the identification of patients belonging to risk groups (those who are at higher risk of acquiring the disease. For example, people living with HIV). We guarantee that all patients who start TB treatment can finish it successfully, this is a victory because it allows us to cut the disease transmission cycle at the community level. These approaches contribute to reducing the burden of the disease for the risk group. Additionally, they also help to control its spread and reduce mortality, so much so that we reduced deaths from tuberculosis by around 64% in the period between 2015 and 2022”, highlighted Benedita José, responsible for the National Tuberculosis Control Program (PNCT).

 

Regarding MTBI's contribution to ending TB, Benedita believes that the strong communication component of MTBI will help disseminating information about TB, especially in relation to prevention. “I believe that correct information about TB will be circulated to mitigate the impact of myths and misconceptions surrounding tuberculosis at the community level. This initiative will allow people who recognize the symptoms and signs of this illness to attend TB health services and be quickly identified and treated. In this way, we can break the chain of transmission and consequently reduce TB cases”, she commented.

 

MTBI is committed to advancing the field toward TB elimination through 4 pillars: Interdisciplinary research; involvement with the National Tuberculosis Control Program of Mozambique; stable partnerships; and communication, dissemination, and advocacy activities.

 

Officially launched in Manhiça, the event was marked by a round table moderated by Dr. Pedro Aide, Scientific Director at CISM, with the theme “Tuberculosis research in Mozambique, challenges and Role of Society”, where Dr. Benedita José, Responsible for the National Tuberculosis Control Program (PNCT), Dr. Celso Khosa, Director of the Polana Caniço Health Research and Training Center (CISPOC), Mr. Clésio Mandlate, District Responsible for the PNCT and Prof. Emílio Valverde, from the Aurum Institute (an international consortium working on a project that aims to prioritize short-term preventive treatment for TB), provided their ideas on the topic.

 

Among several points discussed during the session, four points stood out: the challenges faced by health units in identifying tuberculosis cases, new diagnostic and treatment tools, the role of scientific research, and the power of partnerships in combating the disease. Participants actively engaged in the debate, asking about aspects related to problems when communicating and disseminating information among local communities. For example, the issue of sharing household utensils was emphasized, which still remains misunderstood by the majority of the population.

 

Alberto García-Basteiro, coordinator of the TB and HIV area at CISM, Associate Professor at ISGlobal, and leader of MTBI said that: “the Manhiça TB Initiative is an institutional initiative that aims to provide a more comprehensive response to the challenges in tuberculosis research by engaging academic partners, the National Health Service, and other relevant actors in the fight against TB. We want MTBI to contribute to raising awareness about the problem of TB in Mozambique and around the world and to bring research results to all sectors of society through various activities, strategies, and communication channels.”









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