A major shift in the global anti-tuberculosis (TB) strategy was announced at the Stop TB Symposium just prior to the 44th Union World Conference on Lung Health this month in Paris. Instead of setting modest targets for incremental improvements in TB control, which has been the norm for the past few decades, the TB community — clearly driven by TB/HIV activism — is now calling for a global effort to eliminate the ancient disease.
The very ambitious though still preliminary Global TB Strategy 2015-2035, prepared after consultations with key stakeholders including civil society and non-government organizations, will be reviewed by the World Health Organization (WHO) executive board in January 2014 and then, it is hoped, adopted by UN member States at the General Health Assembly next June.
“The mission is a world free of TB. Zero deaths, zero disease, and zero suffering due to tuberculosis,” said Mario Raviglione, head of WHO’s Global TB Program, at the Stop TB Symposium. “The goal is to end the TB epidemic.”
Much of the rest of the symposium — and indeed, the subsequent conference — dealt with how to reach this goal.
A short report which looks at the history of TB, some of the challenges that reaching this goal will represent and the type of research that will be needed to make it happen has been published on hivandhepatitis.com. See here.