Media release Mar 24, 2015 Nurses reaching the 3 million
Posted: Wed, Apr 22nd 2015 at 01:28:29


ICN Media March 24, 2015

Nurses Reaching the 3 Million

Finding, Treating & Curing Tuberculosis

Geneva, Switzerland, 24 March 2015 - The International Council of Nurses-Lilly TB/MDR-TB Project is training nurses in order to reach the 3 million people with tuberculosis who go undiagnosed and untreated.

Nurses play a critical role in improving case detection, getting patients on appropriate treatment, providing ongoing support to patients and improving treatment outcomes. The ICN-Lilly TB/MDR-TB Project has trained more than 1,900 nurses in 18 countries to strengthen the global nursing capacity in the prevention, detection, care and treatment of tuberculosis and multidrug and extensively drug-resistant TB (M/XDR-TB). These nurses have in turn rolled out the training to over 96,000 nurses and allied health workers.

In 2013, 9 million new cases of TB were diagnosed globally, but the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that an additional 3 million people go undiagnosed and untreated. Many of those missed will either die or be placed on inappropriate treatment – while most will not be treated and continue to infect others in their communities. Furthermore, nearly half a million will be diagnosed with MDR-TB which is more difficult and more expensive to diagnose and treat. TB remains the second leading cause of death due to a communicable disease and is a leading cause of mortality among women of reproductive age. Major efforts are needed to close this gap and nurses on the front lines play an important role in finding, diagnosing, and treating these patients.

The ICN-Lilly TB/MDR-TB Project trains experienced nurses working mainly in the TB and HIV fields, who then cascade information to their colleagues in local health care facilities as well as in the communities they serve. The TFT courses are run in countries with a high burden of TB and MDR-TB where the ICN has a strong working relationship with the national nurses association. The ICN TB/MDR-TB Project is currently running in the Russian Federation and China – two countries greatly affected by TB and MDR-TB - as well as six other countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zambia). Find out more about the project on


Not only do the nurses trained through the TFT courses train other nurses, health care professionals and members of their communities, they also change their practice and improve the care and services provided to patients. The training provides much needed knowledge on all aspects of TB/MDR-TB but, just as importantly, it empowers and gives the nurses the confidence to improve their practice and to assess their current practices and environment against best practices in TB care and develop plans to address the identified gaps.

One nurse from South Africa said this about the training, "I got so capacitated that I became confident to run the TB programme smarter and more efficiently than I had previously. I now also teach my colleagues the information I acquired from the course. Now I also challenge the doctors for prescribing the treatment which is not based on the regimen which is on the national protocol. I also managed to change some of the staff members’ attitude towards TB…All those patients who would be left to die, are now being diagnosed by increasing the number of people who are screened and by improved quality of specimen collected, the positive patients are now called for commencement of treatment and they are followed up. The defaulter rate has gone down."

ICN, working within the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership is committed to mobilising and strengthening nursing as the key, practical, on the ground response to address the challenges, the suffering and the spread of TB. The ICN TB Project is supported by a United Way Worldwide grant made possible by the Lilly Foundation on behalf of the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership.