We are delighted to announce that Masoud Dara, MD, is joining the team of experts guiding the MDR-TB Community on GHDonline, where health providers based in 100+ countries representing 650+ organizations openly collaborate on issues like reducing transmission, pulmonary surgery, or treatment.
With a wealth of experience developing and managing TB services on a local and global scale, Dara insists, “We cannot afford to wait for early detection tools for drug resistant TB like rapid molecular testing while patients are not receiving treatment. We need to share best practices, and make connections in countries to identify reliable suppliers and laboratories and coordinate our efforts now!”
Among other goals for the community, he wishes to bring to the forefront some of the key bottlenecks identified during his work as a consultant, as well as disseminate specific solutions for countries. Dara takes on this role shortly after becoming medical officer for the Tuberculosis Programme of the Division of Communicable Diseases, Health Security & Environment for the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe.
A multilingual professional (he speaks six languages!), Dara began his career diagnosing and treating TB and implementing DOTS in rural and urban areas of Iran. He has worked with multiple organizations implementing TB control programmes across the globe, serving as programme manager and medical coordinator in Central Asia for Médecins Sans Frontières; as medical officer in the Russian Federation for the WHO (providing technical assistance to national health authorities and TB control services across the country); and has provided technical assistance to multiple countries as a Green Light Committee consultant and trainer for the past six years.
He most recently was senior consultant for the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, mainly in MDR-TB, TB/HIV and TB Infection Control, and has been the chair of the TB control in prisons scientific working group at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases since 2008.
When asked about the main challenges in the implementation of TB programmes, he identified good planning as essential to providing quality treatment. Remembering the case of one country that was approved both for the GLC and the Global Fund but had no technical assistance, he says, “They bought drugs for all patients for three years at once! The stock ended up being out of date while neighboring countries did not have access to 2nd line drugs. This is exactly what can happen without good program planning.”
By joining the community, Dara would also like to emphasize the essential role of infection control to protect health workers, and what he calls “the other big challenge”: choosing and adapting the appropriate model of care for a specific setting.
“To do this, one needs to take both the patients’ needs and the capacity of the health system in-country into account. Unfortunately, many fail to do so,” he concludes.
Meet Masoud Dara at the 41st Union World Conference on Lung Health, November 11-15 in Berlin, Germany.
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