Measure the burden of disease
Studies are needed to measure the burden of disease. This is done through TB prevalence surveys. In such surveys, a sample of the population in a country is systematically investigated for the disease, and using statistical methods, inferences are made on the burden in the whole population. KNCV has been involved in the development of standard methodology for TB prevalence surveys since the 1990s, and has since then supervised many TB prevalence surveys in Africa and Asia. KNCV is still in the frontline of developing new methodologies to make the conduct of TB prevalence surveys easier. For example, we are currently involved in studies that investigate whether the methods for finding TB in the surveys can be simplified using newer diagnostic technologies.
To measure the burden of drug-resistant forms of TB, other types of studies known as TB drug resistance surveys (DRS) are needed, as drug resistance does occur in only a small proportion of the TB patients. KNCV has also contributed to the development of these DRS and has helped conducting surveys in Asia and Africa.
Countries can make better use of the data that they already collect. We help countries in doing so by contributing to epidemiological assessments, in which data from different sources is analyzed, combined and put into perspective, in order to help the National Tuberculosis Programs to better understand where the gaps are in the program that they can and need to address.
We also support countries who want to conduct modeling to assess the potential effect of proposed interventions to reduce the burden of TB. We provide the modelling support to countries in collaboration with other well-known TB modeling groups to estimate the burden of TB in countries and regions.
It is in KNCV’s immediate future plans to support countries in conducting inventory studies which are important to assess the extent of under-reporting; economic modelling; direct mortality measurements; and development of novel designs and methodologies.