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Sharing at the Union Conference: EPCON’s Innovative Strategies to Uncover Missing TB Cases

We are looking forward to presenting at the Union World Conference on Lung Health in Paris, scheduled from November 15th to 18th. This year’s theme is about transforming evidence into practice. The conference is a vital event in the field of lung health. It will provide an excellent opportunity for us to take the stage with both oral and poster presentations that shed light on our innovative approaches to discovering missing, or currently undiagnosed, TB cases.

Bangui Epi-control Geoportal
Bangui Epi-control Geoportal

Oral Presentation: Finding TB cases in Bangui

Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, is a city where the majority of health services of the country are concentrated. The city depends heavily on passive case finding for TB and the only data available is at facility-level, or hospital data, which conveys a skewed perspective on TB burden due to the influx of health care-seekers from neighbouring regions as well. No other data for community-based interventions is available. Our novel approach involves integrating hospital data with contextual information, such as demographics. In this way, we can predict TB hotspots at the community level. The presentation will discuss these findings as well as looking at the challenges posed by Bangui’s relatively small size, and how these were overcome.

Poster Presentation: Pixels of Precision in Pakistan

Our poster presentation turns our gaze to Pakistan, where we have been engaged in concerted efforts to combat TB. This advanced project, presented via a poster, showcases a distinct strategy for identifying missing TB cases. Instead of conventional clustering methods, we used pixel-based analysis, utilising 2x2 kilometre pixels to form a remarkably detailed map of infectious disease hotspots. This new method required substantial computation power. It involved moving from 19,143 Thiessen polygons to a staggering 113,997 tiles, ultimately leading to improved model performance and more accurate predictions.

Regarding our forthcoming attendance at the The Union Conference, Dr Sumbul Hashmi, Global Public Health Manager, says: “We are really excited to attend this year since the event is finally happening in-person after the Pandemic. We look forward to presenting our papers and posters to a larger audience, meeting like-minded peers and experts from the TB domain, and we also have our own booth this time. We hope to engage in interesting conversations, share knowledge and learn from practices around the world."


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