Sanofi-aventis: TB Free & Other Initiatives
In March 2002, sanofi-aventis and the Nelson Mandela Foundation established the TB Free program, a EUR 15 million effort to increase detection and treatment rates for tuberculosis in South Africa. Initially planned to finish in 2007, it has now been extended to 2010. The partnership trains volunteers to encourage patient compliance during the 6-month treatment, using the WHO-recommended DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy Short-Course) strategy. The agreement mandated TB Free to provide infrastructure for training and conduct training and also develop and implement education and awareness programs. The actions would help to increase the TB cure rate by as much as 80% through improved compliance to TB treatment. In each of the country's nine provinces, a TB Free Center has been established, which works closely with the Ministry of Health. By 2009, nine training centers had been opened, in which 33,000 'DOTS supporters' have been trained. TB Free provides a fully accredited training program which equips the DOT supporters with skills to provide care and support to TB patients and their families. The training program is integrated with the South Africa Community Workers Program, designed to qualify Community Workers in the fields of health, social welfare and other disciplines. A comprehensive TB advocacy, communication and social mobilization program is being implemented, to increase testing, compliance and cure rates. The program harnesses television and radio adverts and information programs, billboard campaigns, print media, taxis advertisements and door-to-door information visits by DOTS supporters. Such activities are helping to change community attitudes to TB and put it high on decision makers' agendas. In Kenya, sanofi-aventis works with the Kenya Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases to train health-care workers in 200 targeted treatment centers. Sanofi-aventis also supports the Kenya's World TB day awareness activities. In India, sanofi-aventis formed a partnership with the Association Pere Ceyrac in 2007 to fight tuberculosis and support TB-affected families living in the slums of Mumbai, Navi-Mumbai and Pune. Sanofi-aventis supports the Inter-Aide NGO through local partners by means of 51 DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment short-course) centers, 11 centers for collecting samples, and 4 testing laboratories located in the heart of the slums, which manage to treat almost 4,000 patients a year.