KNCV’s ‘No more pandemics’ project empowers Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania in the fight against TB and other infectious diseases

Ineke Spruijt, Consultant and Epidemiologist, and Norma Madden, Monitor and Evaluation Officer, from KNCV’s global office in the Netherlands visited Kyrgyzstan from 8 – 13 October. During this trip, they trained colleagues from Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania for the Dream Fund Project, funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery. 

The Dream Fund project called ‘No more pandemics’ aims to set a new standard for the diagnosis of infectious diseases and antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) by ensuring access for all patients to a novel technology to test for all infectious diseases; nanopore sequencing using MinION devices, developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies. 

Summary of the trip to Kyrgyzstan

The team first visited the Kyrgyz National TB Program (NTP) at the National Center of Phtisiology, for care, treatment and study of tuberculosis. Subsequently they visited the National Reference Laboratory, where nanopore sequencing with the MinION device is currently being validated. After validation at this central level laboratory, the sequencing will also be implemented at decentralized laboratories.  

During their visit, the team discussed the protocols of the various sub-studies, including the one on the feasibility and acceptability of nanopore sequencing using a MinION device – the focus of this weeks’ training. 

Norma provided training on data management. Robust policies and procedures to handle research data throughout the project lifecycle ensure integrity and enhance the value of the collected data during and after research. The training also focused on systems to monitor the quality and timelines of the research activities. Following presentations, the Kyrgyz and Tanzania teams developed country-specific data flow diagrams. Such diagrams enrich understanding of the complexity of patient, and sample routings and test strategies. They also form the basis of the data management plan, an important tool to ensure data processes adhere to the study protocol.

Besides data management, the training also focused on qualitative data collection, which is needed for the study on the feasibility and acceptability. The interview topics to be used in the study were studied and reviewed. Knowing and understanding the interview questions is crucial to be able to conduct and manage semi-structured interviews. Ineke and Norma provided training on interview skills, including various cultural techniques to build rapport with the interviewee, and practical exercises with feedback from the rest of the group.  

At the end of the week, the team evaluated the training, agreed on future roles and responsibilities, and handed out the certificates for a succesfull completion of the training.  

A special thanks to the Postcode Lottery 

With the support of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation is making strides toward a world where all patients have access to the latest diagnostic technologies, ultimately helping to prevent and manage the spread of infectious diseases and antimicrobial drug resistance worldwide. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the Dutch Postcode Lottery and its participants for making this project possible. 

KNCV has been fighting TB since its establishment in 1903. Over the past 120 years, the organization has acquired indispensable knowledge and experience in the field of effective TB prevention and care, resulting in pre-elimination in the Netherlands and significant contributions to global evidence generation, policy development and TB program implementation worldwide.

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