Bingham University Secures  £1M (DFID) Funded Research grant To Treat Tuberculosis.

By Our Correspondent

Bingham University says it has secured the Department for International Development (DFID) funded research grant worth £1M to tackle tuberculosis .

The University in a statement signed by Daburi Misal , the Acting Director, Information and Protocol of the institution and made available to newsmen, disclosed that, “A consortium of international, regional and national health research and policy organisations working in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and the UK are announcing a collaborative work on a new DFID-funded Research Programme to improve equitable access to tuberculosis (TB) services to reduce its spread.”

He further said that The work will also support the introduction and scale-up of new tuberculosis TB diagnostics, treatments and a vaccine as they develop to meet global targets to eradicate TB. ”

The institution explains that TB tuberculosis affects people of both sexes but the highest burden is in men with two thirds of TB transmission in Low and Middle Income Countries due to undetected and untreated men with TB. A complex mix of social, epidemiological and healthcare access challenges mean that men of all ages, along with other vulnerable groups, and particularly those living in extreme poverty, have a disproportionate burden and short and long-term consequences of TB and HIV disease. Building on available evidence, the Research Programme, Leaving no-one behInd: transforming Gendered pathways to Health for TB (LIGHT), will tackle both the root causes of –and responses to – gender-related barriers for men needing access to relevant interventions.”

According to Vice-Chancellor, Bingham University, Prof William Qurix OFR, “This grant comes at a critical time when the world is focusing on finding a solution to the ravaging Covid 19, which challenges lung health”.

He said that the The Zankli Research Centre, Bingham University team headed by Dr John S. Bimba explains that, “we are certainly prepared to explore all components of this grant in line with the contract to look at the skewed gender burden of TB and HIV, and examine it closely, dispassionately and chart a novel approach towards addressing it collaboratively with stakeholders. We are delighted to have been awarded this funding by DFID. Through payment by results, we anticipate to deploy the £1m strategically over the coming six years in Nigeria.”

Also, “Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing rapid growth in cities where TB and HIV burdens are high. They also experience high levels of poverty and inequity, and there exist substantial gender gaps in disease burden,” explains Dr Eliya Zulu, Executive Director at the African Institute for Development Policy.

The statement further reads that Professor Bertie Squire, Dean of Clinical Sciences and International Public Health at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and Research Director of the Programme said “there is increasing evidence that men have been left behind in global efforts to end the TB and HIV epidemics. They form a substantial proportion of the “missing cases” of 4 million people with TB, who are missed due to under-diagnosis, under-treatment and under-reporting. In addition to the burden this places on their health, it means that they contribute to continuing transmission, including to women and girls. It is important to now shine a light on men and boys to find gender transformational ways to address the intersection of poverty and masculinity to End the disease .

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, attention and resources are bound to shift and this will see an increased burden in other lung health diseases, leaving the already vulnerable populations worse off. The situation calls for more sustainable interventions than we have had in the past. The new Research Programme hopes to achieve sustained acceleration in the attainment of global TB goals in sub-Saharan Africa by securing changes in policy and practice toward value-for-money, gender sensitive and pro-poor TB interventions. “

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