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TB Notes 1, 2001

Updates from the Research and Evaluation Branch

The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development

After several decades of neglect, TB is receiving the increased attention that this global public health problem deserves. Governments, nongovernmental organizations, and philanthropic organizations are beginning to invest the major sums of money required to control and eventually eliminate this ancient scourge. Although most of these new resources are appropriately being invested in the TB control programs of countries where the epidemic is most severe, a significant commitment is also being made to develop new diagnostic, treatment, and prevention tools, including new drugs. Until now, progress in anti-TB drug development has been impeded by two major factors: the belief that there was little need for new agents and the high cost of drug development. These caused the perception that the potential global market was insufficient to guarantee return on investment. To address these problems, a number of interested parties, with initial support from the Rockefeller Foundation, have created the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (GATB), a not-for-profit venture that will accelerate the discovery and development of new drugs to fight tuberculosis. It is one of a new breed of public-private partnerships that pursues a social mission by employing the best practices of the private sector and draws upon resources from both the public and private realms. The vision of GATB is the provision of new medicines with equitable access for the improved treatment of tuberculosis. Its mission is to accelerate discovery and development of cost- effective new drugs that will shorten the duration of treatment or otherwise simplify its completion, provide for more effective treatment for MDR TB, and improve the treatment of latent TB infection. GATB functions as a lean, virtual research and development organization that subcontracts projects to public or private partners. It will selectively intervene when its actions will help move a drug candidate towards registration and use in therapy, and, thus, build a portfolio of projects with varying levels of funding, management, and ownership. To be successful, this will require continued and increased support by national and international health organizations, private sector pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and foundations. By combining our resources, GATB and its partners can make a vitally important contribution to improved control and the eventual elimination of TB from every country of this world. Use the link for more information on the GATB.

-Reported by Richard J. O'Brien, MD
Division of TB Elimination

Training in Prevention Effectiveness and Program Evaluation

The Prevention Effectiveness Section (PES), within the Research and Evaluation Branch, conducts a variety of studies using a wide range of research methods, including decision and economic analyses, behavioral and social research techniques, and program evaluation tools. Recognizing the growing importance of these methods, PES has undertaken two training initiatives to help increase the skills and capacity of state and local TB program staff to conduct prevention effectiveness and program evaluation studies.

Prevention Effectiveness: Over the last few years, CDC's Epidemiology Program Office (EPO) has developed and delivered two prevention effectiveness training courses, which consist of a series of didactic lectures and small-group case study discussions. One course focuses on decision and economic analyses (such as cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, and cost-utility analyses), and the other focuses on cost analysis. During 2000, PES held two 2-day courses on how to use decision and cost-effectiveness analyses: one for 24 state and local TB staff members in Berkeley, California, in June, and the other for 29 state disease control staff members in Augusta, Maine, in October.

In early February 2001, PES collaborated with EPO to conduct a 2-day course on cost analysis for 25 state and regional disease control staff members in Columbia, South Carolina. The course is also being developed into a print-based, self-study module with a TB case study, which will be pretested this summer. If you would like to pretest the module, please contact PES at (404) 639-8123.

Program Evaluation: In September 1999, CDC published the report Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health, MMWR 1999:48(No. RR-11). This can be accessed on-line at This framework provides a six-step process for public health programs to use in evaluating their interventions and operations, and provides a systematic way for diverse programs to effectively and systematically conduct evaluations. Understanding how to apply the framework to a TB program requires evaluation skills.

PES collaborated with an experienced contractor to develop and produce a TB-specific training course to introduce program evaluation methods to state and local TB program staff. The course introduces participants to the basic principles of evaluation and walks them through the six-step evaluation process. Course participants work through several TB case studies to illustrate concepts such as developing a logic model and selecting an evaluation design.

On February 1 and 2, 2001, a train-the-trainer course was held to create a cadre of evaluators-trainers within DTBE. Feedback from the course was overwhelmingly positive, and generated additional suggestions for improvements, which will be incorporated into future courses. PES is currently in the process of finalizing the comprehensive 2-day course for replication in other settings, adapting sections of the course for a 4-hour skill-building session on logic modeling, and developing a 2-hour introduction to evaluation principles.

If you would like more information about the prevention effectiveness or program evaluation training courses, please contact Dr. Noreen Qualls or Ms. Maureen Wilce, respectively, at (404) 639-8123.

-Reported by Noreen Qualls, PhD,
and Maureen Wilce, MS
Division of TB Elimination


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
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