TB Elimination Possible in Next 24 Years – Lancet

The Lancet Commission on TB has predicted a possible elimination of Tuberculosis (TB) – a bacterial infection of the lung – globally by 2045.

The Commission on TB however noted that the forecast can only be achieved with increased political will and financial resources directed towards priority areas including providing evidence-based interventions to everyone, especially to high risk groups, and increasing research to develop new ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent TB.

“Funding this response will require substantial investments, and accountability mechanisms will be necessary to ensure that promises are kept and targets are reached,” the report said.

Released ahead of World TB Day commemorated on March, 24, the report highlighted the significant financial benefits of reducing TB mortality.

The savings from averting a TB death, the report said are estimated to be three times the costs, and may be much greater in many countries.

“This report is optimistic about ending TB — a disease that is preventable, treatable and curable.

However, there is no room for complacency in our work, and we must act quickly and strategically to save the next generation from TB,” says lead Commissioner Dr. Eric Goosby, UN Special Envoy on Tuberculosis, University of California San Francisco, USA. “In the wake of the UN High-Level Meeting on TB, the Commission views this report as a roadmap to help keep high-burden countries accountable for defeating this deadly disease.”

TB remains the leading infectious killer of our time, responsible for 1.6 million deaths worldwide in 2017, with drug-resistant forms of TB threatening control efforts in many parts of the world.

In addition, in 2017, around a quarter of the world’s population were living with TB infection.

The World Health Organization (WHO) first declared TB a public health crisis in 1993, and in 2018 the first-ever UN High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB made ending the disease a global priority.

This included ambitious goals to treat 40 million people, and to prevent 30 million new cases between 2018-2022.

The Lancet Commission on TB makes policy and investment recommendations to countries with high levels of TB and their development partners.

 The report is the work of 37 commissioners from 13 countries, and includes economic analyses, and modeling of interventions to counter treatment challenges (drug-resistant TB, HIV co-infection, and treatment within private health systems), which are published in detail in an accompanying research paper in The Lancet Global Health journal. 

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri