The Global Childhood TB Program leverages the complementary disciplines of TB immunology, clinical care, diagnostics, prevention, and treatment to enhance comprehensive care and support clinical and translational research. Using this model approach, the Global Childhood TB program is leading the effort to apply for NIH funding with the Ministry of Health in Swaziland serving as our primary partner. Cutting edge research will be facilitated by the clinical, radiologic, and laboratory facility in Mbabane, Swaziland. The program is coordinating a large ‘team science’ approach that includes experts in the fields of immunology, diagnostics, epidemiology, and microbiome research. Opportunities for training and education are integrated into projects to support research capacity building in Swaziland.
To further the program agenda, the program collaborates intimately with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) network and Global Health Corp physicians in strengthening the TB/HIV infrastructure; increasing capacity for translational, operational and implementation science research; and supporting the growth of junior members in developing their TB/HIV research interests. In this process, the TB Program has cultivated partnerships with departments within Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, the Ministries of Health in each host country and outside organizations. In addition to partners mentioned above, the Global TB program is collaborating on TB specific research projects with Dartmouth College (Swaziland), the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (Uganda), the International Organization on Migration (IOM) (Philippines), The University of the Philippines – Manila (Philippines), University of Munich’s Mbeya Medical Research Center (MMRC) (Tanzania), and Papua New Guinea School of Medicine (Papua New Guinea). Dr. Mandalakas continues to serve on multiple international Child TB committees, present in numerous national and international forums, and serves as mentor for two junior members to oversee the development of their research platforms in Uganda and Swaziland. The Associate Director of the Global Childhood TB Program, Dr. Pilar Alonso Ustero is based full-time in Swaziland. Over the past year, she has presented at the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (the Union) world conference, the World Health Organization (WHO) Childhood TB Roadmap Launch in Washington DC, and served as the WHO TB/HIV expert at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) conference.