New report establishes roadmap to end TB within a generation

The Union welcomes The Lancet Commission, published on 20 March, as a comprehensive roadmap for how countries with a high-burden of tuberculosis (TB) and their development partners can get on track to meet the goals set by September’s United Nations High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on TB.

World leaders endorsed a historic political declaration following the UN HLM on TB with concrete, measurable targets for ending TB. The Commission, a collaboration between 37 TB experts from 13 countries, including Union experts, provides guidance to achieve those goals based on comprehensive analysis of the state of the TB emergency around the world.

The authors conclude that ending TB within a generation is possible but only if increased political will and financial resources are directed towards priority areas.

The Commission provides five priority investments for targeting TB efforts in high-burden countries. These include: scaling up access to high-quality diagnostics and treatment, targeting groups at high-risk of developing TB and facilitating screening and prevention, increasing investment to accelerate research and development (R&D) for TB, making investment in TB a shared responsibility, and holding countries and stakeholders accountable for progress.

The report, published alongside an accompanying research paper with economic analysis and data modelling to provide responses to specific country-level TB interventions, shows the economic benefits to investing in TB, with the estimated savings of avoiding a TB death estimated to be three times the cost of treating TB.

Eric Goosby, the United Nations' special envoy for the disease, told AFP on Wednesday:

"The inevitability is that we will need new drugs as the disease evolves. We should - as a global health response - anticipate and expect (drug) resistance and continue the work." 

Also speaking to AFP, Paula Fujiwara, Scientific Director at The Union said: "The real key is that we are going to need much more new research and new tools. Even if we use the tools we have today it's not going to be enough. The goal is to end tuberculosis but the current decline is only 1.5-2.0 percent a year.”

The Lancet Commission also launched a TB Observatory, an annual independent evaluation led by the commissioners of the report, which will provide an accountability mechanism allowing stakeholders to check on progress and ensure commitments are kept.

Read The Lancet Commission and the accompanying research paper with linked comments from former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and Indian Minister of Health and Family Welfare Jagat Prakash Nadda.