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  • By Ivor Langley
  • In Blog
  • Posted 06/02/2014

Guest Blogger Ivor Langley from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine provides us with an update on his work in Tanzania to evaluate new diagnostic technologies for TB using WITNESS

It is now over three years since I started work at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine as part of a research team focussed on improving the diagnosis and treatment of Tuberculosis (TB) amongst the poor. The research programme is part of a five year initiative lead by The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) under the name TREAT-TB, and funded by USAID. My initial involvement with the programme was based around using WITNESS to evaluate the impact of potential new diagnostic technologies for TB in Tanzania. The environment is challenging in Africa where the infrastructure, data, finances, and available resources are limited, meaning approaches applied in the developed world need to adapted to a different context.

The programme has developed with the initial work resulting in the WITNESS model being implemented in Dar es Salaam for use by local staff in assessing the impact of new diagnostic technology in particular district health care settings.

We are now also extending the work to model the diagnosis of drug resistant TB in Brazil and South Africa. In a separate initiative, following a collaboration with Lancaster University, it is hoped WITNESS predictive process simulation can soon be applied to assisting in policy decisions for Blood Transfusion services in Ghana, opening another avenue of research.

This continues to be an exciting research programme with the potential to support significant improvements in healthcare in Africa and developing countries. WITNESS is performing a critical role in helping to model processes which maximise the sustainable outcomes for patients supported by rational and comprehensive decision support tools.

Ivor Langley

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

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