Generating Community Demand & Accountability for Person-Centred Drug-Resistant (TB) Treatment and Care – Call for Expression of Interest

Funded by Unitaid and led by the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, the ASCENT DR-TB project aims to promote sustainable access to shorter, safer, all-oral, more effective DR-TB
treatment regimens such as BPaL/M, which is 6 months duration and combines the
drugs bedaquiline (B), pretomanid (Pa), and linezolid (L) with or without
moxifloxacin (M) and support countries to prepare for future WHO recommendations.
Not all people with DR-TB can benefit from BPaL/M (e.g., children, pregnant
women, people with extra-pulmonary forms of TB), but for most adults and
adolescents with DR-TB, BPaL/M should be made available for all eligible
patients as the highest attainable standard of care.

The ASCENT DR-TB project hopes to improve widespread access to these new regimens, supportive diagnostic technologies, and comprehensive, person-centred packages of care to improve DR-TB treatment outcomes. This will require updated national policies, access
to diagnostic services and WHO-recommended tests for TB and drug-resistance
(e.g., rapid molecular, targeted next generation sequencing, and phenotypic
tests), excellent clinical management skills of health care workers, and uninterrupted
supplies of medicines and laboratory consumables. Additionally, it will require
improved treatment literacy, community-driven demand creation, and advocacy and
accountability for national TB programs to deliver the best care in line with
WHO’s latest guidelines. Treatment support packages should be tailored by
country to address the individual needs of patients and local contexts.

Treatment Action Group (TAG) is leading community and civil society engagement (CCSE)
under the ASCENT DR-TB project. The CCSE component of ASCENT DR-TB will
deploy a partnership model that pairs training in the science and practice of
shorter regimens with competitive small grant funding, enabling community and
civil society partners (CSOs) to design and implement projects at the national and
sub-national levels. Projects should advance advocacy, treatment literacy, demand
creation, and community mobilization to increase access to appropriate
diagnosis and BPaL/M (and other WHO-recommended treatment regimens) within the
context of a comprehensive package of patient-centered services and care. The focal
project countries include Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mozambique, Nigeria, South
Africa, the Philippines, and Ukraine.

TAG seeks to work with CSOs in the focal countries to facilitate community-led
demand creation and policy advocacy to increase access to BPaL/M and other WHO-recommended treatment regimens for DR-TB and patient-centered supports among priority populations. TAG hopes to strengthen existing efforts through community awareness and demand creation for new diagnostic tools, treatment regimens, community engagement in care delivery, and treatment literacy. This also includes evidence-based
policy advocacy to promote a conducive ecosystem for equitable access to BPaL/M.

This Expression of Interest (EOI) aims to identify community and CSO partners
interested in joining the ASCENT DR-TB project. Respondents to the EOI must be organisations active in one of the focal countries interested in upskilling national and sub-national partners for increased demand creation and awareness.

Kindly note that we will accept Expressions of Interests until Monday, 3rd June 2024.

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