April 14, 2015
Over 65 researchers, public health professionals, social entrepreneurs, clinicians, and policy-makers convened for The Emerging Role of Municipalities in the Fight Against TB meeting. The meeting was hosted by the newly established Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery- Dubai, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The meeting’s aim was to convene key leaders in the field to frame and discuss the role of municipalities in the fight against TB, and to initiate an action plan for coordinating municipal TB control projects around the world going forward.
Participants came from 16 countries across five continents and represented non-governmental organizations, hospitals, social businesses, academic research institutions, national and global health organizations, and pharmaceutical companies. Represented organizations included The Global Fund, Partners in Health, Clinton Health Access Initiative, TB Reach, NYC Department of Health, Interactive Research and Development, King Dinuzulu Hospital, Indus Hospital, Operation ASHA, Baylor College of Medicine, Stellenbosch University, Stop TB Partnership, Eli Lilly &Co., and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, among many others.
The day started with a review of ongoing citywide projects, new global initiatives to link these projects together, and discussions on the strengths and limitations of such a municipal focus. There was a discussion of best strategies to incorporate current TB innovations in the cities in which participants worked. Several short case study presentations were made on innovative TB detection and treatment programs in urban and peri-urban settings, including experiences from New York City; Karachi, Pakistan; Vladimir, Russia; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Chennai, India with question and answer sessions driving the discussion. The end of the day saw two dedicated discussion sessions being facilitated by the hosts including a special session for Chennai and their TB program.
This session concluded with productive discussion and was met with positive feedback by participants. A summary of advantages and challenges of a city-centered approach by those who have begun similar schemes was discussed and created. There was significant commitment expressed to share tools or strategies for working with the public sector at the municipal level as lessons were learned going forward. Specific city project were also able to use this opportunity to further develop their own detailed action plans and to reshape their priorities based on the information shared at the meeting.