The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Respiratory Society released a new framework aimed at eliminating tuberculosis (TB) in 33 countries that currently have low levels of this disease—defined as fewer than 100 TB cases per million population. The list includes 21 European countries, as well as seven countries, territories, or areas from the Americas, three in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, and two in WHO’s Western Pacific Region. These are countries in which attention to TB has fallen as rates of the disease have declined. As a consequence, their ability to marshal resources in response to any TB resurgence could be compromised.
The framework begins with a “pre-elimination phase,” which aims to see fewer than 10 new TB cases per million people per year by 2035. “The goal is to then achieve full elimination of TB by 2050, defined as less than 1 case per million people per year,” according to WHO.
The framework builds on interventions that have proved successful and includes eight interventions:
- Ensure funding and stewardship for planning and high-quality services.
- Address the most difficult-to-reach and vulnerable groups of people.
- Deal with the special needs of migrants, and address cross-border issues.
- Conduct screening in high-risk groups for active TB and latent TB infections; provide treatment and manage outbreaks.
- Optimize multidrug-resistant-TB care and prevention.
- Continue surveillance, as well as program monitoring and evaluation.
- Invest in new tools and research.
- Support TB control globally.
“Low TB-burden countries already have the means to drive down TB cases dramatically by 2035,” says Hiroki Nakatani, WHO assistant director-general, in a prepared statement. “Universal health coverage, which ensures everyone has access to the health services they need without suffering financial hardship as a result, is the bedrock. The key is to target smart TB interventions towards the people who need them most.”
Read more about the framework.