TBXpert Group Convenes in Jordan: CHMI and IRD Promote Innovative Technologies & Business Models

26 September 2014- Amman, Jordan- Representatives from Interactive Research and Development (IRD), in partnership with the Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI)—a project managed by Results for Development Institute (R4D)—and the TBXpert Initiative, organized a four day, regional workshop from 18-22 September to build the capacity of private sector, low-cost Lung Health and Diabetes centers to transition from donor funding to sustainable social business models.

The event brought together representatives from three TBXpert programs—IRD in Karachi, Pakistan and IRD’s regional partners in Dhaka, Bangladesh (ICDDR-B) and Jakarta, Indonesia (REMDEC, Inovasi Sehat Indonesia)—as well as staff from TB-Reach and UNITAID, representatives from CHMI, the Clinton Health Access Initiative India office, and consultants in the marketing, social business, and banking industries. These low-cost, private centers are using digital chest X-rays developed by Delft Imaging Systems to screen suspected TB patients through CAD4TB software, and conducting GeneXpert tests for diagnosis on cases that are analyzed by CAD4TB to be high-risk for TB. The use of these two promising new technologies is already having substantial public health impact, but programs have faced challenges in implementing these “disruptive” technologies into an already established market.

“Increasingly governments are recognizing the critical role health markets and the private-sector more broadly plays in the delivery of public health services,” said Dr. Asad Zaidi, an Epidemiologist at IRD and Manager of the CHMI Hub in Pakistan. “Ensuring sustainability of such initiatives can help develop high impact partnerships between public health departments and private-sector organizations, improving national programmatic indicators and benefiting patients through improved quality of services.”

Over the four days, representatives from each country presented their center’s financial and marketing plans, brainstormed key challenges and opportunities for growth, and worked with consultants to develop targeted plans for increasing revenue and generating wider acceptance of these new technologies over the next year. The workshop provided intensive training and capacity building to these three programs, so that they may, in turn, develop sustainable social businesses that continue to identify and treat new TB cases in high-burden countries. To generate additional revenue streams, for example, the centers also diagnose and treat asthma, COPD and Diabetes that are associated with an increased risk for TB.

“The context of these three centers remains diverse, but in the end, innovators are facing similar challenges, including low physician awareness of new technologies to diagnose TB, developing successful branding and communication strategies to promote doctor referrals for patient testing, and ensuring that patients with doctor referrals actually come in to receive TB testing”, said Rachel Neill, CHMI’s global representative at the event.

At the conclusion of the workshop, representatives from the three countries left with renewed enthusiasm and a refined focus on how to combine promising CAD4TB and GeneXpert technology with a new social business model to screen more patients and increase access and affordability of care for low-income populations. CHMI and IRD will now work together to disseminate these lessons learned to the broader TB community, ensuring that more providers can benefit from the insights generated at the event. To stay tuned to future reports on the TBXpert working group, and on CHMI and IRD’s role connecting TB initiatives with sustainable social business models, visit healthmarketinnovations.org/tb.

                                                                                                                         -- Rachel Neill and Dr. Asad Zaidi

See the slides from the event here:

 

IRD: Interactive Research and Development, CHMI’s partner in Pakistan, is a regional resource for innovative global health research and delivery active in fifteen countries. IRD’s mission is to improve the well-being of vulnerable communities through innovation in research and health delivery. Through the TBXpert initiative, IRD aims to increase case-detection for TB and provide services for lung diseases and diabetes in low-cost private centers serving low-income communities in Karachi, Pakistan and Dhaka, Bangladesh.  With support from R4D, the IRD-CHMI Health Market Innovations Hub in Pakistan has developed a community of innovators working to improve, scale, and replicate promising health market innovations across the country.