WHO launches new stop TB strategy
A new strategy to fight tuberculosis (TB) was launched in the 17 March issue of the Lancet, by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The new Stop TB Strategy addresses the current challenges facing countries in responding to TB: how to continue scaling-up TB control while also addressing the spread of TB and HIV coinfection and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). Coinfection in Africa, and MDR-TB in Eastern Europe, are seriously hampering efforts to reduce the annual 1.7 million TB deaths.
At the strategys core is DOTS. Since its launch in 1995, more than 22 million patients have been treated under DOTS-based services. The six strategies in the Stop TB Strategy are:
- Pursuing high-quality DOTS expansion and enhancement.
- Addressing TB/HIV, MDR-TB and other challenges.
- Contributing to health system strengthening.
- Engaging all care providers. To be able to reach all patients and ensure that they receive high-quality care, all types of health-care providers are to be engaged.
- Empowering people with TB, and communities. Community TB care projects have shown how people and communities can undertake some essential TB control tasks. These networks can mobilise civil societies and also ensure political support and long-term sustainability for TB control programmes.
- Enabling and promoting research. Improved elimination will depend on new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.
The new Stop TB Strategy underpins the Global Plan to Stop TB, 2006-2015, an ambitious US$ 56 billion action plan launched in January. If fully implemented, the Global Plan will treat 50 million people for TB, halve TB prevalence and death rates and save 14 million lives.
Details of the new Stop TB Strategy are published in the Lancet as part of a special TB essay focus prior to World TB Day, which is held every year on 24 March.
Source: WHO press release
The strategy emphasises TB/HIV coinfection and MDR-TB, and is the first time a TB strategy recognises the important role that patient communities can play in programme improvements.