LSTM graduate and former research fellow Mohammed Yassin is Senior TB Advisor for the Global Fund, a position fitting with his long term goal of increasing access to TB treatment since graduating medical school in Ethiopia in 1995.
As part of his role for the Global Fund, Mohammed is involved in high level international decision making, recently meeting with 13 international partners and the drug's manufacturer to agree the best use of bedaquiline, an emerging treatment for drug-resistant TB. He also works with policy makers on a country level, identifying gaps in national TB programmes to reach missed TB cases and improve treatment outcomes.
His first job out of medical school was running one of three pilot Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course for TB (DOTS) clinics in Ethiopia. For four years, Mohammed saw 200 patients a day, deciding who would receive the few drugs available. As resources grew, he became the Regional Program Manager and expanded DOTS to 400 clinics in Southern Ethiopia. Even with this expansion few people were able to access diagnostic services and the drugs were still inadequate to fight TB and the other diseases he saw in the clinics every day.
Mohammed came to study at LSTM and was awarded an MSc and a PhD. He worked under Professor Luis Cuevas, conducting operational research on his old DOTS programme. As a founding member of REACH Ethiopia, along with LSTM’s Professor Cuevas and Dr Sally Theobald and REACH ETHIOPIA’s Director Dr Daniel Datiko, he designed and initiated a community-based TB control programme in Ethiopia which improved access to services and received last year’s Kochon prize, the TB community's highest honor.
Now, at the Global Fund, he monitors the nine million new TB cases estimated each year, and the growing percentage of drug-resistant diagnoses and HIV co-infections, advising country teams and countries to improve concept notes, directing money to fill gaps, investing strategically for impact and prioritising between core TB interventions based on the strongest need. He highlights key populations and participates in high-level discussions to ensure that global distribution will put available resources where they most need to be.