Halting the dual tuberculosis and diabetes epidemic

Tanzania like other sub-Saharan African countries endures a high burden of communicable diseases including multidrug resistant pathogens; but also a concurrent rise of non-communicable diseases as populations urbanize, diets “westernize” and lifespans lengthen. Owing to the inflexibility of the health system, during such epidemics management teams operate in crisis-mode with an inability to focus on long-term disease prevention.

Interventions for several longstanding and economically draining epidemics like TB and DM with their associated comorbidities, are executed within disease specific or vertical programmes. Vertical programmes operate in silo while in reality various communicable and non-communicable diseases co-exist, pathologically drive one another, and overlap in populations of shared genetic backgrounds or environmental exposures, and in communities with similar socioeconomic conditions or behaviours.

The aim of this research project is to

  1. develop a model that will strengthen health systems by shifting traditional vertical programmes to an adaptive diseases control approach through integrating communicable and non-communicable diseases using the tuberculosis (TB) and diabetes mellitus (DM) dual epidemic respectively as a case study in Tanzania
  2. assess the clinical impact of integrated technologies and innovations to personalize TB/DM treatment and quality care through novel diagnostics and communication strategies. Integrating and optimizing TB/DM management will facilitate interrupting the cycle of TB transmission, and mortality in DM prevalent communities

The project runs from 2018 to 2023 and is funded by Danida, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and administered by Danida Fellowship Centre.

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