Mr. Michael Wilson was in Dubai last week to launch the Zero TB Cities project.
[Photo: The co-founders of AA&D are (l-r) Mr. Michael Wilson, Mr. Tom Nicholson, Dr. Mercedes Becerra and Dr. Salmaan Keshavjee. AA&D’s offshoot, Zero TB Cities, aims to end the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic by fighting the disease at the community level in high-burden countries.The project aims to end the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic by fighting the disease at the community level in high-burden countries.]
Zero TB Cities is a companion initiative for the road map laid out in a recent series by The Lancet. The journal’s collection of publications details scientific, therapeutic and policy plans to stop deaths from TB and change the epidemic’s course — one city at a time.
Mr. Wilson is an alumnus of the department of health behavior at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. After receiving a Master of Public Health degree in 2014, he co-founded Advance Access & Delivery (AA&D), the organization behind Zero TB Cities. His founding partners include Mr. Tom Nicholson, MIDP, executive director of AA&D, as well as colleagues from Harvard Medical School and Partners In Health.
AA&D was created to address critical challenges in access to medicines and the delivery of comprehensive care, particularly for economically and socially marginalized groups. Its offshoot, Zero TB Cities, specifically uses partnerships between activists, researchers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and health-care providers to offer a comprehensive spectrum of care for people at all stages of the disease.
While at UNC, Mr. Wilson completed a practicum in Vietnam for which he evaluated the quality and impact of a pediatric eyesight program in a rural area. During his studies, he also was part of a health behavior capstone team that evaluated the effectiveness and reach of Naloxone access policies in North Carolina.
“The technical and team-building skills I learned while at the UNC are pivotal to the work I am doing today,” Mr. Wilson said. “The entire Zero TB Cities project is built upon collaborative efforts from experts in academia, industry, local authorities and institutions, and NGOs.”
With more than half the global population currently living in cities, municipal authorities are well-positioned to bring about huge changes in population health based upon the strength of public sector priorities, their ability to mobilize local resources quickly and efficiently, and their proximity to populations most affected by TB – namely, the poor, marginalized and often overlooked in society.
Chennai, India, and Lima, Peru, are the first of the Zero TB Cities. Other TB care-delivery partnerships currently in talks with the project include Kisumu, Kenya; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Karachi, Pakistan; and Vladimir Oblast, in Russia.