WHO and the European Respiratory Society have developed a new framework to eliminate tuberculosis in countries where there is a low burden of the disease.
The framework includes a pre-elimination phase that aims to have fewer than 10 new TB cases per million people per year by 2035 in the 33 countries or territories with fewer than 100 cases of TB per year. The goal is full elimination of TB by 2050: less than one case per million people per year.
“Low TB-burden countries already have the means to drive down TB cases dramatically by 2035,” Hiroki Nakatani, MD, PhD, WHO assistant director-general, said in a press release. “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 toward the people who need them most.”
The new framework includes eight key interventions:
- Ensure funding and stewardship for planning and services of high quality;
- Address most vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups;
- Address special needs of migrants, cross-border issues;
- Undertake screening for active and latent TB in high-risk groups and provide treatment; manage outbreaks;
- Optimize multidrug-resistant TB prevention and care;
- Ensure continued surveillance and program monitoring and evaluation;
- Invest in research and new tools;
- Support global TB control.
Because of globalization and increased population movement, TB continues to spread across communities and countries. Eliminating the disease in low-burden countries will require scaling up TB prevention and care in high-incidence countries. This requires tight collaboration between high- and low-burden countries.
Countries with a low incidence of TB are uniquely positioned to reach historically low levels of TB,” Mario Raviglione, MD, director of WHO’s Global TB Program, said in the press release. “They can serve as global trailblazers.”
The 33 countries with low TB incidence include Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United States, West Bank and Gaza Strip.