SIGH News

Where you can read about the programs, partnerships, and events that SIGH supports.

SIGH Grant acknowledged in this press release for funding support of bi-national participants in an Ingestible Sensor Wirelessly Observed Therapy (WOT) TB Study

(October 2019-Eureka Alert)

Media Release

Embargoed until 14:00 EST/17:00 PST, Friday, 4th October 2019


Ingestible sensor enables patients to take tuberculosis drugs independently and receive timely support from medical staff.


100% of patients in U.S, trial were cured and preferred the new technology with the potential to revolutionize the treatment and cure of tuberculosis, the world´s biggest infectious disease killer

Friday, 4th October, 2019 (San Diego, U.S.) - -A trial involving an ingestible sensor connected to a paired mobile, that enables medical staff to remotely see patients` intake of tuberculosis (TB) medicine, has produced superior results to directly observed therapy (DOT), where a healthcare worker watches the patient swallow medication, leading researchers to suggest that the technology could be a game changer in high prevalence countries where treatment adherence remains a stumbling block to eliminating TB.

The randomised controlled trial, conducted in California, was published today in PLOS Medicine ahead of the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health be held in Hyderabad, India, October 30-November 2,2019

Today TB is the world´s largest infectious disease killer, despite it being preventable, treatable and curable. In 2017, 10 million people globally fell ill with TB and 1.6 million died from the disease. India has the highest TB burden in the world with 1 in 4 people affected by the disease residing in the country.

The trial demonstrates that Wirelessly Observed Therapy (WOT) was reported as highly accurate in recording medication ingestion (99.3 per cent) and persons with active TB using WOT were confirmed as taking 93 per cent of their daily prescribed doses as opposed to 63 per cent using DOT. All the patients using WOT completed treatment, were cured, and preferred it to DOT. The system allowed patients to manage their own medication taking, preserving patient privacy and autonomy, but also enabled highly targeted treatment support from practitioners with permission.

Poor adherence to TB treatment has long been associated with continued transmission, increased unfavorable treatment outcomes including relapse, and the emergence of drug-resistant TB.
“We are not doing people affected by TB justice when we have robust genomic diagnostic tests and the emergence of new antibiotic drugs that can cure TB but cannot guarantee consistent, convenient and private treatment support for them,” said Sara Browne, Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases & Global Public Health at the University of California San Diego, who led the trial.
“If we are serious about eliminating TB then we have to get some fundamental things right such as increased support for patient care that efficiently helps patients complete all of their treatment,” concluded Browne, who is also the founder of Specialists in Global Health (SIGH), a non-profit that provided funding for Bi-national participants in this trial.

The trial evaluated a novel technology termed Wirelessly Observed Therapy (WOT) consisting of an ingestion sensor composed of minerals, a patch worn on the torso and a paired a mobile device. WOT is FDA approved and can be accessed by patients with a physicians prescription and downloadable App. It determined the accuracy of ingestion detection in clinical and home settings using WOT and subsequently compared, in a randomized control trial (RCT), confirmed daily adherence to medication in persons using WOT or directly observed therapy (DOT) during TB treatment.

The trial evaluated WOT in 77 participants with drug-susceptible TB in the continuation phase of treatment recruited from San Diego (SD) and Orange County (OC) Divisions of TB Control and Refugee Health, using ingestion sensor-enabled combination isoniazid 150 mg/rifampin 300 mg (IS-Rifamate) prescribed daily. In terms of accuracy, WOT was equivalent to DOT. WOT was superior to DOT in supporting confirmed daily adherence to TB medications during the continuation phase of TB treatment and was overwhelmingly preferred by participants.

“We are now moving into an era of all-oral regimens for the treatment of drug resistant TB, without the need for daily injections. And we now have an opportunity to explore the potential of medication adherence support using WOT in the use of TB treatment regimes worldwide,” said Dr. Constance Benson, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease & Global Public Health at the University of California San Diego and co-lead on the trial.

”We have a limited number of drugs available for the drug-resistant strains of TB and better treatment support will be essential to help ensure that the integrity of those drugs is preserved in the long term,” concluded Benson.

Dr. Mark Cotton, Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health at Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Children’s Hospital in Cape Town South Africa, is an advocate of evaluating WOT in TB treatment.

“We must urgently evaluate the applicability of WOT in high prevalence countries such as India and South Africa where treatment adherence rates are often poor due to geographical barriers, stigma and poverty,” said Cotton. “WOT could potentially be a lifesaver for millions.”


SIGH Grant continues to help local communities after Cyclone Idai. 

(October 2019-Mozambique, Africa)

The SiGH Grant awarded to MIHER continues to benefit the people of Mozambique.  The MIHER medical team was able to use some of the funds to provide long term benefits. They set out to build two new wells that would provide clean drinking water in some of the communities that were hit the hardest from Cyclone Idai. The goal being to help prevent the spread of waterborne illnesses such as Cholera that are at higher risk after major storms.

MIHER is happy to report the wells have been completed in the district of Luabo in Zambézia Province, Mozambique.  One well is in the neighborhood Guerreiro A, Vila Headquarters of Luabo and the other in the village of Chivenaro, locality Samora Machel. These wells will benefit around 600 inhabitants of that district. 

 SIGH Raises $11,270.10 for those affected by Cyclone Idai 

(June 2019-Mozambique, Africa)

Since March, SIGH has raised over $11,000 in donations directed to MIHER (Mozambique Institute for Health Education and Research) in support of those affected by Cyclone Idai.

The team of Mozambican Medical Specialists that SIGH works closely with battled the difficult weather conditions and maneuvered hundreds of kilometers over damaged roads to bring aid to the local people. They travelled around Zambezia (the second largest province in Mozambique) to help thousands of people delivering supplies including food, drinking water, clothing, medications, as well as seeds and tools to plant new crops. The medical team, led by Dr. Emilia Noormahomed, also consulted with residences of these heavily devastated communities providing nutritional education and preventative education against contraction of waterborne illness.

Mozambique still requires a great deal of recovery efforts.  If you would like to contribute, visit https://sigh.global/donate-to-aid-mozambique/

(For more information on MIHER: http://www.miher.org/en/)

 SIGH Grants $10,000 in support of Year 2 Cardiovascular Partnership Collaboration and Training  

(April 2019-Maputo, Mozambique, Africa)

SIGH granted $10,000 in support of the Year 2 Cardiovascular Partnership Collaboration and Training in Maputo.  In April 2019, the seven member cardiology team led by Dr. Ulrika Birgersdotter-Green, of the University of California, San Diego, returned to the University of Eduardo Mondlane, (UEM) in Maputo, Mozambique for the second year.

This year’s focuses were arrhythmia management, pacemaker implantations, patient screenings, and cardiothoracic surgery and critical care, along with echocardiography (teaching that extended beyond cardiologists to internal medicine faculty, as well as emergency room and ob-gyn physicians). There were daily formal lectures, workshops, and hands-on training during procedures.  Many of the staff that were involved in the collaboration last year, were again in procedure rooms and in follow up this year. This enabled good continuity of education.

SIGH Helps Raise Funds to Support Mozambican Medical Specialists educate and care for those directly affected by Cyclone Idai 

(March 2019-Mozambique, Africa)

Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique in early March, causing the most substantial damage on March 15th in the city of Beira. Hundreds have died and millions have been affected by this natural disaster. Many of the medical specialists SIGH works closely with reached out for support. SIGH began an on-going fundraiser to support our specialist team during this disastrous time. There is an overwhelming need for medical treatment, wellness education and medical supplies.

ALL funds SIGH collects in support of Cyclone Idai Relief are being sent to MIHER (Mozambique Institute for Health Education and Research in Maputo, Mozambique (MIHER: http://www.miher.org/en/). We sent the initial donated funds on March 27th, and they were able to begin to bring assistance to a campus named Metangurine in Zambezia (a province in Mozambique). A team of 46 health professionals was able to assist 452 people, including children.

Apart from consultations they also educated people how to take care to avoid diarrheal disease, malaria, malnutrition and above all advise them not to return to the risk areas.

If you would like to donate, please visit the donation page on our website:

SIGH @CROI 2019

(March 2019-Seattle, WA)

On March 7, 2019, SiGH hosted its second SiGH at CROI* luncheon. This round table was comprised of physicians and global health specialists from around the world. SIGH created a forum allowing these experts to gather and discuss global health issues such as multi-drug-resistant (MDR) Tuberculosis. The afternoon included presentations on new medical technology product development and group discussions regarding relevance in global settings.

* For more information on CROI visit: http://www.croiconference.org/

SIGH President, Dr. Sara Browne attended the AIDS 2018 Conference in Amsterdam

(July 2018-Amsterdam, Netherlands)

On July 24, SIGH President, Dr. Sara Browne spoke during a press conference on the topic of HIV prevention highlights research at the AIDS 2018 Conference in Amsterdam (www.aids2018.org). This AIDS conference is the largest international conference on global issues in the world. 

SIGH grant brings Mozambican surgeons to San Diego for continued collaboration

(May 2018-San Diego, California)

SiGH granted funding for continued collaboration between UC San Diego and the Maputo Cardiothoracic Surgeons this April and May.

Dr Matchecane Cossa and Dr Adriano Tivane were able to attend the American Association of Thoracic Surgery (AATS) which was held here in San Diego (April 28 - May 1). After informative and highly engaging sessions at AATS, these Mozambican surgeons reconnected with their UC San Diego counterparts for a week. During this time, they observed cardiac surgical procedures both at UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital.

Dr Ulrika Birgersdotter-Green, UC San Diego Cardiology Professor and Director of Device Services, led discussions defining parameters of future educational sessions and equipment needs in Maputo.

Drs Cossa and Tivane also met with Dr Michael Madani, Executive Director of Surgery of the Cardiovascular Institute, to explore future learning opportunities at the UC San Diego facility.

All in all, it was a productive visit and SiGH’s grant investment was put to excellent use in bridging the gap of healthcare between UC San Diego and their Mozambican counterparts. With plans to continue this collaboration through 2018, 2019, and beyond, SiGH will be instrumental in providing funding for this significant work.

To learn more about the American Association for Thoracic Surgery visit their website at : https://aats.org

SIGH Grant provides continued support to UCSD Cardiovascular Partnership with Maputo

(April 2018-San Diego, California)

Recently, a SIGH grant was awarded which allowed Dr. Tivane and Dr. Cossa, two cardiothoracic surgeons from Maputo, Mozambique, to come to the United States and attend the annual meeting for the international organization, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) in San Diego, CA from April 26- May 1. 

Dr. Adriano Tivane commented, “Taking part in such an important meeting was unique. I knew about this meeting since I was a trainee. This meeting allowed me to increase my knowledge on Congenital and Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery. I had the opportunity to update protocols and meet new people.”

As SIGH continues to fundraise, we hope to be able to continue to grant funding to support this partnership.

To learn more about the American Association for Thoracic Surgery visit their website at : https://aats.org

SIGH Grant Award helps to fund Cardiovascular Partnership in Maputo, Mozambique.

(October 2017-Maputo, Mozambique-Africa)

A component of SIGH’s mission is to provide the connection and means for educating and supporting medical specialist training in developing countries. 

In October 2017, Dr. Ulrika Birgersdotter-Green, a cardiologist from the University of California, San Diego, led a team comprised of support pediatric cardiac echo specialists, pacemaker technicians, cardiac interventionists and adult and pediatric cardiovascular surgeons to provide cardiac specialist medical education and training at the University of Eduardo Mondlane, (UEM) in Maputo, Mozambique.
The group of cardiac specialists worked with the UEM cardiologists and medical staff through formal lectures, daily workshops, and assistance with procedures in surgery, electrophysiology and echocardiograms.

SIGH hopes to continue to support this partnership in the future.

SIGH granted funding toward UCSD Bi-National TB Therapeutic Study which was presented at largest international TB Conference.

(October 2017-Guadalajara, Mexico)

More than 10 million people die annually from infection with Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (TB). The emergence of resistant and increasingly deadly TB is associated with poor medication adherence to TB therapy. TB is spread through the air and as such is a major worldwide public health threat.

In May 2017, SiGH funded work by Dr. Jonathan Gonzalez-Garcia to include Mexican Bi-National TB infected patients in a clinical trial conducted by UCSD to test Wirelessly Observed Therapy versus the gold standard of care Directly Observed Therapy (DOT). DOT is used to support TB treatment monitoring and medication adherence support. However, DOT is very expensive and requires a highly developed public health system that does not exist in most high burden countries. As TB treatment involves multiple medications and requires 6-12 months of treatment new technologies can offer both treatment monitoring and adherence support, but Low and Middle Income Countries don't even get to test these technologies. SiGH is working to make sure high burden countries get to review and test novel mobile/digital health technology that could make major differences t the epidemics in their countries and in so doing make the entire world safer.

In October 2017, this work, on which Dr. Gonzalez-Garcia was a co-author, was presented at the largest international TB conference know as the Union World Conference on Lung Health. This year’s conference was in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Here are some press releases from the conference:

http://guadalajara.worldlunghealth.org/media/press/press-releases

Ushering in a new era of TB science: Studies show progress in finding new TB diagnosisand treatment options


President of SIGH visits Mozambique hospitals to see first-hand what they need. 

(April 2017-Maputo, Mozambique-Africa)

In April 2017, Dr. Sara Browne, (President of SIGH) traveled to Maputo, Mozambique to visit some of the local hospitals and medical teaching facilities. Her goal during this visit was to see first-hand what resources were available to the medical specialists, and also determine what SIGH could do to support the improvement of resources. 

One of the major needs for Maputo General Hospital is the expansion and improvement of the Internet within the hospital. In the second half of 2017, SiGH plans to raise and grant funds to the hospital to expand Internet availability and connectivity in the departments of Medicine and Radiology as well as the hospital’s laboratory. Building a stable Internet connection will allow medical staff to communicate more efficiently and effectively, and with stable Internet access, physicians can increase their research and training capabilities and improve the quality of treatment for their patients. 

(These photos were taking at Maputo General Hospital and Hospital De Mavalane.)

SIGH at CROI

(February 2017-Seattle, WA)

On February 14, 2017, SiGH hosted SiGH at CROI*. This round table was comprised of physicians of multiple specialties from across the USA and Southern Africa (Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Malawi).

Through this meeting, SiGH was able to  facilitate a discussion between colleagues to promote future collaboration between those in the USA and Africa. SiGH can help connect them with what they need to improve patient care.  The African Doctors shared what their specific specialists education training goals and MHealth needs are for their settings. 

The meeting included presentations from California-based technology development companies. These companies shared medical technologies that are in development.

* For more information on CROI visit: http://www.croiconference.org/

Top