Smart pillboxes and mobile technology to support TB treatment

New devices help patients adhere to treatment


One of the difficulties in curing tuberculosis is the long treatment. Patients have to take medicines anywhere from six months to two years. After a few months of treatment, many patients feel better and stop taking their medicine. As a result, the illness returns, and the bacteria gets an opportunity to develop resistance to the TB drugs. Drug-resistant TB can then spread from person to person.


The ASCENT project will pilot three types of devices and create a global market and implementation plan for them. The devices are:

  • pillboxes that send a message to a monitoring clinic every time the patient opens it up to take their medicine.
  • a video application that helps patients film themselves taking their medicine, and then sends the video to the clinic.
  • an application that helps patients send an SMS to the clinic every time they take their dose.

KNCV will work with partners The Aurum Institute, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and PATH.

KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation is excited and honored to lead the Unitaid-funded ASCENT project. We look forward to working with national TB programs, patient representatives and our consortium partners to bring digital adherence technology to scale.

Kitty van Weezenbeek, KNCV executive director

The impact we are seeking

The project aims to help patients adhere to their medicines and raise the world’s plateauing cure rates for TB.

Grantee's project page

Grantee’s project page, click here

Web story

How digital technologies can empower patients to succeed in TB treatment


Learn more about the potential of digital technologies by listening here to the full interview of Kristian Van Kalmthout, ASCENT’s project director for the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation.

The ASCENT project runs from July 2019 until December 2022 by a consortium led by KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation including PATH, the Aurum Institute and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

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