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Lilly Grants $4.4 Million to the WHO for MDR-TB Program Expansion
Date:3/12/2008

INDIANAPOLIS and LONDON, March 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today Eli Lilly and Company announced its four-year grant of $4,384,000 to the World Health Organization (WHO) for scaling up its global capacity to manage multi- drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) programs.

The grant covers four activities, starting with the technical assistance the WHO will provide to developing countries that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria operations do not cover. The WHO will provide assistance to some 25 countries in their clinical management of MDR-TB, infection control, laboratory facilities and community outreach. Second, the WHO will conduct workshops for health care personnel so they can better design and manage TB programs, for laboratory technicians so they can test for first and second line drug susceptibility, and for administrative personnel to record and report on TB incidence in their countries. A third component is support for training global MDR-TB experts so they can expand training in developing countries, run workshops in infection control, and strengthen laboratories for proper diagnosis and treatment. Finally, the grant will support the field-testing and evaluation of a new information system to record and report on MDR-TB rates in two countries.

"This grant represents Lilly's continued commitment to support the WHO in its goal of treating 50 million TB patients and 1.6 million MDR-TB patients by 2015. It builds upon existing WHO and Lilly program successes in curbing the MDR-TB pandemic," says Alex Azar, senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications for Lilly. "With drug resistance at an all time high, the engagement in fighting MDR-TB comprehensively is more important now than ever."

Since 2003, approximately 30,000 patients have been enrolled on treatment in WHO Green Light Committee approved projects. Country officials and healthcare personnel have consistently identified the training of human resource management a major challenge to accelerating the global scale up of MDR-TB treatment programs. Lilly funds are instrumental for in-country capacity building for MDR-TB control. Eight regional training workshops have been conducted in high TB burden areas, training some 160 senior TB officers and health workers in WHO guidelines for the programmatic management of drug resistant TB. To complement this training, Lilly supports the monitoring and delivery of technical assistance, including the production of second-line TB medications, to over 20 Green Light Committee approved projects.

"Confronting the threat of MDR-TB is a priority for WHO," said Dr. Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO Stop TB Department. "Our scale-up efforts have prompted the expansion of MDR-TB programmes in some of the world's poorest countries. I am delighted that Lilly will continue to support our goal to strengthen measures to diagnose and treat all MDR-TB patients. This commitment is an important contribution and confirms Lilly's position as a key partner in the fight to push back the spread of drug-resistant TB."

"The expansion of WHO programs joins those of the larger Lilly MDR-TB Partnership -- a five-year-old alliance of 14 public and private organisations fighting MDR-TB from every angle. We will continue to learn lessons from existing programs and improve our initiatives to best serve those suffering from MDR-TB, and to best prevent its spread," Azar said.

About Lilly

Eli Lilly and Company, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers -- through medicines and information -- for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly programs is available at http://www.lilly.com and http://www.lillymdr-tb.com. C-LLY

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