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In late January 2019, the Access and Delivery Partnership (ADP), the Government of Japan, and the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund convened stakeholders in Bangkok, Thailand, for a global dialogue on “Uniting efforts for innovation, access and delivery.” Here we introduce ADP’s mission and TDR’s unique role in and contributions to the partnership.

While research and development efforts in recent years have produced several innovative health technologies for tuberculosis (TB), malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), these developments would be wasted if they don’t reach the communities who need them. In fact, this is a persistent challenge for many countries. For example:

In this context, ADP is supporting countries to strengthen health systems to ensure effective access to, and delivery of new health technologies for TB, malaria and NTDs.

Led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), ADP is a collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), TDR (the Special Programme for Training and Research in Tropical Diseases) and PATH, with funding from the Government of Japan. ADP partners draw on their unique areas of expertise to help countries be better equipped to ensure health technologies such as medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tools reach those in need. ADP focus countries include Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Senegal, Tanzania and Thailand.

Expertise in implementation research and drug safety monitoring

Through co-sponsorship by UNDP, WHO, UNICEF, and the World Bank, TDR is able to work across the UN system and with stakeholders beyond health, bringing its expertise to help achieve not only the health SDGs but also many other health-related SDGs.

TDR brings its expertise in two areas to the partnership: implementation research and drug safety monitoring. TDR’s  Implementation Research Toolkit is a key resource used in capacity building activities, and is designed to help identify system bottlenecks that block access and delivery  and relevant stakeholders, formulate appropriate research questions, conduct the research and develop a plan for implementing the study results. 

Since its launch in 2014, over 200 researchers, academics, disease control programme managers, policy-makers, health administrators, communication specialists and journalists have used the toolkit to guide their research and provide feedback. The latest revision responds directly to their comments, as well as to new learning about the critical role of IR in the effective introduction of new policies, strategies and health technologies within health systems. 

TDR has also worked with ADP focus countries to strengthen their safety monitoring, which has contributed to increased reporting rates. For example, in Tanzania, following training in facilities across 20 districts targeting more than 500 healthcare workers, the national reporting rate of adverse drug reactions doubled. And in Indonesia, TDR has supported the establishment of systems for active safety monitoring for new TB drugs.  

“TDR’s participation in ADP has greatly enhanced our capacity to address implementation challenges and strengthen safety monitoring systems,” said Tenu Avafia, Team Leader at UNDP on Human Rights, Key Populations, Health Technology Innovation and Access.

TDR has also been involved in supporting more efficient approaches to product R&D. One critical tool that is increasingly used by the research community is the Portfolio-to-Impact (P2I) financial model.  This tool has been used to analyze the health product development pipeline for neglected diseases, which has revealed major gaps in the critical tools we will need if we are to achieve the SDG targets by 2030. 

This news story was originally published by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Disease (TDR) on 21 February 2019