A 2-day conference on the Urban Tuberculosis (TB) Initiative in Bangladesh took place at Hotel Lakeshore in Gulshan 2, Dhaka on 15-16 May 2017. The Government of Bangladesh’s National TB Control Programme (NTP), under the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), organized the conference in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Challenge TB Project in Bangladesh.
During the conference, experts from the Government of Bangladesh, various development partners, experts from other countries and academia shared a series of technical papers highlighting how urban health approaches can help to prevent and treat tuberculosis in large cities.
The program was structured to enhance stakeholders’ understanding of the various interventions aligned with the new Urban TB initiative, and to provide strategic information to the NTP for the implementation of TB programs in megacities.
Prof. Dr. Abul Kalam Azad, Director General, DGHS, the chief guest of the conference said that Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is the leading Ministry to provide health services to the citizens of the country. He said that Bangladesh has eleven city corporations, with Dhaka and Chittagong being the largest. What we have done for combating TB is truly remarkable but urban TB is still an area of challenge to have additional efforts and attention and this is time to be united to reach the goal to end TB. Now, we need to prove that when we come together and take ownership, we can truly make a difference. Our job through the conference will be to explore the opportunities of urban interventions and learning from other countries which have undertaken work also.
Md. Sirazul Islam, Secretary of Health, Prof. Dr. Abul Kalam Azad, Director General, DGHS, Dr. Md. Ehteshamul Haque Choudhury, Additional Director General (Admin) and Line Director TBL & ASP, DGHS, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Dr. Rouseli Haq, Director, TB Leprosy, and Dr. Md. Ashrafuddin, Program Manager, TB, Brig Gen. (Dr.) S M M Saleh Bhuiyan, Chief Health Officer (CHO) of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Brig Gen. (Dr.) Sheikh Salahuddin, Chief Health Officer of the Dhaka North City Corporation were present in the conference on behalf of the Bangladesh Government.
The conference also included experts from around the world, such as Prof. Salmaan Keshavjee, Director of Center for Global Health Delivery-Dubai, Harvard Medical School, Prof. David Dowdy, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Ramya Ananthakrishnan, Executive Director at REACH, India, Shibu Vijayan, Director, TB-HIV, PATH India Country Program, and Andrew Codlin, STOP TB Partnership.
The presentations and discussions from the conference will help develop a roadmap for the urban TB initiative in Bangladesh, including the geographic and demographic scope of the initiative and the roles and responsibilities of implementing organizations.