Tuberculosis Elimination and Implementation Science Group

Heads: Dr Suman Majumdar and Dr Philipp du Cros

Overview

Tuberculosis (TB) is a curable disease but is the world’s leading infectious disease killer, driving health inequity in communities. The spread of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) is an urgent threat to global and individual health security.

Burnet is committed to working towards the ambitious global targets to eliminate TB as a public health threat by 2030 through partnerships, community engagement, and accelerating the implementation of innovation and research.

To eliminate TB, it is critical to first address DR-TB as a crisis and threat to global health security.

Our focus is on the Asia-Pacific region which carries the majority of the global TB burden. Utilising our breadth and depth in research, international development and public health, we are providing support to national TB programs to strengthen health systems, design and evaluate programs and build capacity for operational research.

Objectives

The TB working group will contribute towards the global targets to eliminate TB as a public health threat by 2030 through partnerships, community engagement, technical assistance to national programs and accelerating the implementation of innovation and research.

Our specific aims are to:

  • Engage with the TB-affected community and key populations to identify their needs, empower them to be at the forefront of the response and inform our work

  • Address drug-resistant tuberculosis as a crisis and threat to global health security

  • Address TB in key populations: people living with HIV, children and adolescents with TB, people who use drugs, migrants and refugees

  • Establish and strengthen partnerships with governments, national TB programs, academic institutions, reference laboratories, civil society and implementing partners working to end TB

  • Support governments and funders to optimise resource allocation decisions and efficiency, using modelling and software tools

  • Enhance surveillance systems for TB to identify hotspots and drivers of transmission including molecular epidemiology, geo-spatial mapping and new technologies (electronic data systems and mobile health)

  • Conduct discovery research to develop a point-of-care test and a test to determine priority of treatment

  • Strengthen health systems for TB, including laboratory capacity in resource-limited settings

  • Implement and evaluate integrated, community-based TB elimination strategies in low-resource settings that use a comprehensive (search-treat-prevent) approach 


  • Provide technical assistance to national TB programs
in program design, evaluation, implementation support and training


  • Training and capacity building for operational research within country programs and national research institutes. 


Highlights

Papua New Guinea has been increasingly recognised as a hotspot for TB and drug-resistance. The RID-TB project continues to make significant progress towards combatting the major DR-TB outbreak on Daru Island in the Western Province, which has rates that are among the highest reported globally.

The Burnet Institute is a key technical partner in the PNG governments’ emergency response to DR-TB working in collaboration with partners funded by the Australian Government, including World Vision.

At the field level, our team has:

  • supported improvements in clinical care and case management

  • improved the diagnostic and treatment capacity of the hospital

  • improved patient care and support in the community

  • strengthened routine data systems

  • supported planning and coordination.

Excellent patient outcomes are now being seen, with the vast majority on path to cure.

Our aim is to accelerate change through interventions that are informed and driven by the local stakeholders and community. Burnet has a major focus on building local health worker capacity and strengthening systems to sustain the response.

We are engaging and empowering the TB affected community through a pilot model of patient education and counselling (PEC) that trains a team of peer-counsellors or “TB-PALS” (People Affected by, Living with, or having Survived TB).

Projects

  • Building a Centre of Excellence for Research and Training for DR-TB in Daru, Papua New Guinea

  • Demonstrating the impact of next generation Cepheid tools in TB

  • Diagnostic accuracy of Molbio Truenat for diagnosis of TB and rifampicin resistance

  • ESCAPE-TB: Enhanced screening and preventive therapy for TB in Daru, PNG

  • Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies

  • Novel reagents for the serological diagnosis of tuberculosis

  • Rapid and accurate diagnosis of TB: New trial in PNG

  • RID-TB Patient Education and Counselling

  • RID-TB: Reducing the Impact of Drug-Resistant TB in Western Province, PNG

  • The Social and Cultural Determinants of TB in Daru [SCuD-TB Daru – Study 1]

  • Zero TB initiative Yogyakarta

Staff Members

  • Doctor  Shahidul  Islam

    Doctor Shahidul Islam
    TB Specialist-Public Health

  • Allan Kuma

    Allan Kuma
    Project Lead Counsellor

  • Amanda Fairbairn

    Amanda Fairbairn
    Administration Officer

  • Aniba  Koivaku

    Aniba Koivaku
    Peer Counsellor

  • Doctor Ben Coghlan

    Doctor Ben Coghlan
    Co-Program Director, Health Security

  • Bisato  Gula Kela

    Bisato Gula Kela
    Research Nurse

  • Bradley Teneke

    Bradley Teneke
    Data Entry Officer

  • Charlotte Graham

    Charlotte Graham
    Project Manager

  • Desmond  Samson

    Desmond Samson
    Peer Counsellor

  • Elspeth  Kendall-Carpenter

    Elspeth Kendall-Carpenter
    TB Public Health Nurse

  • Ethel  Pamumum

    Ethel Pamumum
    Health Promoter

  • Geoffrey Chan

    Geoffrey Chan
    International Health and Development Officer

  • Hellen  Kibowen

    Hellen Kibowen
    Project Officer

  • Homiri  Dorogori

    Homiri Dorogori
    Data Officer

  • Iru Tofinga

    Iru Tofinga
    Peer Counsellor

  • James Lawson

    James Lawson
    Senior Program Manager, Health Emergencies

  • Jamillah  Yamani

    Jamillah Yamani
    Finance & Administration Officer

  • Doctor Jane Greig

    Doctor Jane Greig
    Senior Operational Epidemiologist

  • Jenny Bodolo

    Jenny Bodolo
    Peer Counsellor

  • Doctor Khai Lin  Huang

    Doctor Khai Lin Huang
    Infectious Diseases Specialist

  • Kousa  Aruba

    Kousa Aruba
    Driver and Logistics Support Officer

  • Kyrol  Kaisan

    Kyrol Kaisan
    Health Promoter

  • Lisa Vitasovich

    Lisa Vitasovich
    Project Accountant

  • Lucy Dai

    Lucy Dai
    Peer Counsellor

  • Nazzy  Ruhi

    Nazzy Ruhi
    Peer Counsellor

  • Doctor Nicholas  Marwa  Kisyeri

    Doctor Nicholas Marwa Kisyeri
    Team Leader, Daru

  • Doctor Odunayo Johnson  Alakaye

    Doctor Odunayo Johnson Alakaye
    Tuberculosis Specialist (Care and Treatment)

  • Doctor Philipp  du Cros

    Doctor Philipp du Cros
    Infectious Diseases Specialist, TB Elimination and Implementation Science

  • Doctor Romesh Abeysuriya

    Doctor Romesh Abeysuriya
    Senior Research Officer – Computational Epidemic Modelling

  • Rudy Virui

    Rudy Virui
    Senior Data Entry Officer

  • Stacia Finch

    Stacia Finch
    Project Officer-Health Information and Quality Improvement

  • Doctor Stenard Hiasihri

    Doctor Stenard Hiasihri
    Acting PNG Country Director

  • Stephanie Main

    Stephanie Main
    Research Officer

  • Professor Steve  Graham

    Professor Steve Graham
    Senior Principal Research Fellow

  • Doctor Suman Majumdar

    Doctor Suman Majumdar
    Deputy Program Director, Health Security and Know-C19

  • Tess Keam

    Tess Keam
    Social Worker