The Southern and East African Regional Network for TB Control (SEARN-TB) secretariat, hosted by the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), is organizing a regional workshop in Addis Ababa with financial and technical support from the Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), the German Federal Ministry of Health, the Robert Koch Institute and the Global TB Program of WHO.
The workshop is aimed at strengthening tuberculosis (TB) surveillance and the use of data including for implementation research in Southern and East Africa. Monitoring and evaluation focal persons from all 22 National TB Programs of SEARN-TB network are taking part in the workshop which will stay from October 23 to 26, 2023.
Dr. Alemseged Abdissa, deputy director general of AHRI and Executive Secretary of SEARN-TB, highlighted the inspiration behind the regional network, citing local and other regional models including Tuberculosis Research Advisory Council of Ethiopia (TRAC), Western and Central African Regional Networks for TB Control (WARN/CARN). These successful initiatives have demonstrated the importance of collaboration and coordination in tackling TB, and SEARN-TB is established with an aim to replicate their achievements.
The TB surveillance and data utilization workshop, which is part of SEARN-TB’s efforts to promote and facilitate implementation and operational research for enhanced TB control in the region, focuses on assessing the capacity of the current TB surveillance systems in member NTPs, in part by seeking to better understand the availability, quality and use of TB surveillance data and systems.
It is also expected to serve as a platform to identify key challenges and knowledge gaps of the TB programmes and define research priorities, develop and/or revise National TB research agendas of SEARN-TB members based on the global action framework for TB research.
SEARN-TB was established just six months ago with the aim of promoting collaboration and research among NTPs in Southern and East Africa. The network’s objectives include facilitating communication, harmonizing strategies, supporting national responses to TB, identifying and addressing barriers to implementing TB plans, promoting research for improved TB control, and supporting advocacy as well as resource mobilization efforts.
By bringing together NTP colleagues from southern and east Africa countries, SEARN-TB provides a platform for sharing experiences, best practices, and lessons learned.