The Institute plays a leading role in the international arena, providing expertise in program development, education and training and research to national TB programs, non-governmental organizations, healthcare providers, and other working to control TB around the globe. The faculty and staff participate in program reviews and provide policy guidance and technical assistance on a variety of topics including tuberculosis at the primary healthcare level, co-infections of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, patient care in the private sector and ethics. Physicians and educators from the Institute have participated in training, presentations and symposia around the world, including the regions of Eastern Europe, Central and Eastern Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South America. Staff members hold officer positions within the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases and are involved in the development of the UNION world conference. The staff is also involved in international research.
GTBI has significant experience in international TB control. This includes:
- In collaboration with University Research Corporation and the TB Care II project, GTBI is working in Malawi and Mozambique to pilot an instrument for assessing ethical TB care and is collaborating on projects related to infection control, program management – drug (PMDT) and quality assurance
- Partnering with the World Medical Association and the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership to develop a TB Refresher Course for Physicians, released in October 2009. It is intended for public and private physicians involved in the care and management of patients with TB and is available both as an online course and print document. GTBI has also developed an online MDR-TB training released in 2012 and is finalizing a tablet version. This Course is intended as an introduction to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) management, and is aimed at medical practitioners involved in the detection, management and treatment of MDR-TB patients, under the guiding principles of the World Health Organization's Stop TB Strategy.
- Providing tailored training for hundreds of health care professionals from more than 25 countries over the last ten years
- Utilizing a grant from the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, GTBI has also conducted a number of workshops for members of the media in Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union. Workshops tailored to the local situation have been conducted in Moscow, Bucharest, Vilnius, Riga and Berlin since 2004. GTBI coordinated a journalist workshop with Panos Global AIDS program in conjunction with the 2008 International AIDS Conference in Mexico City focusing on TB/HIV issues.
- Membership in the Stop TB Partnership, where staff actively participate in the DOTS Expansion Working Group, Working Group on MDR-TB and TB/HIV Working Group. GTBI’s Executive Director was Senior Advisor of the Stop TB Partnership Secretariat.
- GTBI staff, through the Hope Consortium, led by Project HOPE, with a 5-year USAID funded contract TB Control in the Central Asian Republics have conducted desk audits and site visits to assess current policy, work closely with the local and national governments, and make recommendations for policy changes and human resources development related to MDR-TB and TB/ HIV in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
- Providing technical expertise and assistance to the Philippines Tuberculosis Initiatives for the Private Sector (Phil TIPS) to Chemonics as part of a three year public health project funded by USAID. As part of USAID funded project Strengthening TB Control in the Private Sector in the Philippines, GTBI has participated in a variety of activities including the development of pre-service training materials for Allied Health Professionals including curricula, faculty guides and training modules for Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, and Medical Technology.
- Development of the Brief Guide on Tuberculosis Control for Primary Health Care Providers for Countries of the WHO European Region with a High and Intermediate Burden of Tuberculosis in conjunction with the WHO Regional Office for Europe. Since a majority of people with TB within the region first present to primary health care providers, these providers can play an important role in tuberculosis control through early detection of the disease, referral for treatment, and involvement in directly observed therapy. GTBI is a founding member of the World Health Organization’s Collaborative for training and education for TB control in the Russian Federation, the Baltic States, and the Newly Independent States.
Specific services that GTBI can provide include:
- Programmatic and needs assessment: Assessments can be conducted as background for programmatic interventions and specific needs assessment for development of training materials and curricula. This provides understanding and insight for development of innovative and effective ways to improve care and services for TB diagnosis and treatment.
- Technical assistance and training for specific clinical and programmatic areas including:
- Use of surgical Intervention for MDR-TB
- TB/HIV care and treatment, including integration of services and clinical care
- Strategies and approaches for preventing, diagnosing, and treating pediatric TB
- Development of training and educational materials for health care workers and others: This is based on needs assessment and is focused to address barriers to appropriate TB diagnosis and treatment. Training can be tailored to address specific areas selected by the program including infection control, TB/HIV and engaging other partners and care providers.
- Human resources development: Specific training and guidance on development and implementation of HRD plans can be provided. This can focus on development of an overall strategy as well as development of specific training or approaches to meet identified HRD needs
- Individualized training programs: Development of individualized training programs in specific aspects of tuberculosis control for physicians, nurses, educators, government officials and others working in this field. Specialized training can be tailored to meet the interests and needs of international participants, aiming to build the knowledge and skills of persons working in these settings. The Institute has hosted trainees from more than 25 countries all over the world. Priority is given to healthcare providers from countries with a high burden of tuberculosis that are mobilized to respond to the problem.
Examples of GTBI international educational materials include A Tuberculosis Refresher Course for Physicians developed for the World Medical Association and A Brief Guide on Tuberculosis for Primary Health Care Providers developed for the WHO Regional Office for Europe.