News Release 

Otago global health researchers to tackle tuberculosis in Indonesia

University of Otago

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Credit: University of Otago

Researchers from the Otago Global Health Institute have secured funding from the e-Asia Joint Research Programme and the Health Research Council of New Zealand to help improve the management of tuberculosis (TB) in Indonesia.

McAuley Professor of International Health Philip Hill and his colleagues, Associate Professor Katrina Sharples and Research Fellow Dr Sue McAllister, will receive $450,000 over three years to carry out a study, which aims to increase the number of cases of TB being publicly notified in Indonesia.

The Otago researchers will work with their long-term collaborators at the University of Padjadjaran, Indonesia, as well as researchers at Harvard University in the United States on the project, attracting more than $200,000 of further funding from their respective national health funders under the e-Asia programme.

TB is the third leading cause of death in Indonesia - in 2014/15 the country recorded 1 million cases of the disease. Professor Hill says that over half of the TB cases are not notified with private healthcare practitioners (who provide the majority of healthcare) but notify less than 10 per cent of all diagnosed TB cases.

"This study is important as private practitioners rarely notify the TB cases that they diagnose and as a result the management of such cases is compromised," Professor Hill explains.

The researchers will undertake a tailored intervention trial involving the use of an electronic referral and notification system among private providers, as well as education and individual plans for providers in a bid to boost notifications.

Professor Hill says this project is of potential importance to Indonesia and beyond.

"This project provides an exceptional opportunity to combine specific expertise and develop capacity of scientists in each country. The results will be of local and global interest, shedding light on an issue of importance to global TB control."

The Otago Global Health Institute is a research centre within the University of Otago with staff from a variety of departments and divisions working together on global health initiatives. Its main aim is to work with partners both in New Zealand and globally to help find solutions to tackle pressing global health problems.

The e-Asia Joint Research Programme is a coalition of national research funding institutions from 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nation countries and eight East Asia Summit participating countries, including New Zealand. Projects are required to be multilateral and to promote collaboration, innovation and support economic development in the East Asian Region.

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For further information, contact:

Professor Philip Hill
McAuley Professor of International Health
Tel 03 479 9462
Mob 021 279 7214
Email Philip.hill@otago.ac.nz

Liane Topham-Kindley
Senior Communications Adviser
Tel 03 479 9065
Mob 021 279 9065
Email liane.topham-kindley@otago.ac.nz

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