A Toolkit for Developing A National TB Research Plan, in support of the third pillar of the End TB Strategy
Tuberculosis (TB) remains an important global health problem. Although a number of important advances have been made to control TB in the past decade, an estimated 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and 1.8 million died from the disease in 2015. WHO’s Global TB Programme has identified research and innovation as one of the three essential pillars to end TB as a public health threat by 2030. This document provides the structure and tools that enable the necessary actions to be taken to address country-specific TB challenges and ensure that national response activities are supported by evidence to the fullest extent possible.
This document describes how to develop a country-specific approach to utilizing research and innovation to strengthen and improve TB care and control. It provides a series of tools for developing and implementing a national TB research plan that will help in leveraging individual country action to address the global TB burden. These tools will assist a country’s national TB control programme or its equivalent to develop an effective national TB research plan through a coherent step-by-step process. These tools are described briefly below.
• Tool 1 (Establishing a National TB Research Network) guides countries in establishing a formal network of stakeholders who will drive the development and implementation of the national TB research plan.
• Tool 2 (Reviewing national TB control activities and research programmes) is a self-assessment tool for evaluation of TB control at country level. This includes assessing the characteristics of the TB epidemic, national TB programme, health system and research capacity to inform the development of a national TB research agenda.
• Tool 3 (Developing a national TB research plan) assists with conducting a gap analysis based on the initial situation assessment, and to develop a prioritized national TB research plan and implementation strategy.
These three tools outline the various steps needed to produce a country-specific TB research plan involving all due stakeholders at country level. The national TB research network, described in Tool 1, is an essential first step to identify research priorities from the country-specific situational assessment. It is hoped that funders, researchers and policy-makers will adopt these national priorities and support the drive towards evidence-based TB care and control. We envision that the outcomes of research and innovation will transform policies and practice, which will accelerate progress towards achieving country-specific goals and the End TB strategy by eliminating TB as a public health threat by 2030.