This year's prestigious Kochon Prize has been awarded to REACH ETHIOPIA, a collaboration including LSTM, at the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Barcelona. It was presented to Dr Daniel Datiko, the Field Director for the project.
The prize, which has been awarded annually since 2006 by the Stop TB Partnership, is presented to the individual or organisation that has made a significant contribution to combatting tuberculosis (TB). Its previous recipients include Médecins Sans Frontières and the Desmond Tutu TB Research Centre.
REACH ETHIOPIA is a non-governmental organization in Ethiopia whose main objective is to increase the identification of TB cases and to improve TB treatment among vulnerable and high risk populations through using close to community approaches in the Southern Region of the country. Founded in 2011, it is a culmination of multiple projects on TB conducted by Ethiopians with LSTM support. Over the last three years, REACH ETHIOPIA has implemented innovative community packages engaging community health extension workers (HEWs) to increase TB case detection and treatment adherence. HEWs are female workers selected by the community who undertake training for two years after secondary education and they are part of the Ethiopian Health Extension Program.
REACH ETHIOPIA doubled the TB case notification in a population of 3 million and achieved treatment success rate of 93%. Over the following years it has expanded into new geographical areas, currently serving a population of more than 7 million people. The number of TB cases detected has continued to increase dramatically in all areas where the activities are implemented, demonstrating that there are large numbers of cases not attending health facilities and that bringing services to the door step is both accepted by the community and significantly increases case detection.
Professor Luis Cuevas, who is LSTM's Principal Investigator for REACH ETHOPIA, said: "It is an honour to receive such a prestigious award, placing REACH ETHIOPIA squarely among those organisations making a truly positive impact to parts of the world where TB remains a significant burden. Our approach of bringing services closer to communities makes TB diagnostic and treatment services more accessible to the poor, women, elderly and children, ensuring that we can reduce the number of those people who are missed every year."
REACH ETHIOPIA has shared its project experience and has received awards nationally and internationally through participation in several strategic high profile fora, including the World Health Assembly, the World Bank, the UK all-parliamentary working group on TB and the UNION conferences.
The Kochon Prize was stablished in honour of the late Chairman Chong-Kun Lee, founder of the Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corporation and Kochon Foundation in Korea and consists of a USD $65,000 award.
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