A Paradigm Shift Needed in the Way We Fight TB

27 October 2015 - The 26th of October was a momentous day in Dubai. Under the overarching title ‘Stopping the Body Count: A Comprehensive Approach to Move Toward Zero Tuberculosis Deaths’ and in the presence of key stakeholders, country representatives and partners, the Lancet has launched a series of manuscripts which describe a comprehensive approach to drive down TB incidence far faster than current global rates of decline. By implementing these interventions we will reach the targets of the Global Plan to End TB 2016-2020 and further the 2035 End TB Strategy targets. The authors presented on topics from the manuscripts including active case-finding and prompt initiation of effective TB treatment, treatment of latent TB infection,addressing the biosocial determinants of the disease, and using programme data to target and monitor interventions.

The same day also saw the launch of Zero TB Cities: Building Community-Based Health Care Delivery Models for the 21st Century - a collaborative initiative geared toward significant, accelerated reductions in tuberculosis mortality and prevalence in high-burden metropolitan areas. The Stop TB Partnership is one of the main partners and supporters of the project, together with Harvard Medical School and Partners in Health and others, building on the previous work of TB REACH and ongoing engagement with other partners. The meeting was co-sponsored by Harvard Medical School, Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery - Dubai, the Stop TB Partnership and Advance Access and Delivery.

The meeting was preceeded by the launch of the Center for the Global Health Delivery - Dubai/Harvard Medical School on 25th October 2015.

Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership, presenting in Dubai said, "I applaud the Lancet and the authors of the articles, starting with our colleagues and friends from Harvard Medical School and Partners in Health for publishing the TB Series on "How to Eliminate TB". I hope these articles will become mandatory reading for students, professionals, and everyone working on TB. TB incidence is going down too slow, prevalence surveys are showing that TB numbers are higher than the estimates, our TB mortality figures are increasing and reach unacceptable high levels, so can we take action - it is already late , with every hour that pass. Taking action means we need to change the way we do and think about TB. We need a Paradigm Shift, and the launch of this series comes in advance of the launch of the Global Plan to End TB 2016-2020 which outlines the need for change. Unless we use sub national and dis-aggregated data to drive our programmatic intervention and prioritization, unless we speak about active case finding, X-Ray, contacts, treatment of latent TB infection, the social determinants of TB, unless we speak prevention and Transmission, and unless we put the people affected by TB at the core of our work - we will not change anything and we will not reach our targets. This is why, I am so honored to be here today - because of the Lancet series, because of the Zero TB Cities Project. I am convinced that the Zero TB Cities Project will show the world that we can move faster in TB, that we must have hope that we can eliminate TB".

'The aim of the Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery - Dubai is to support research, training, and politics that address important health delivery gaps. We are launching the Lancet Series here because it provides a road map for filling a gap that continues to kill almost two million people a year. This series -- and the Zero TB Cities project that has been created in tandem with it -- provides a path that will help us stop the tuberculosis epidemic at a much faster pace than we have achieved to date,' said Dr Salmaan Keshavjee, Director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery - Dubai and an Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

'The Lancet Series is a response to the fact that business as usual can no longer be an option in the fight against tuberculosis. Often the message is that TB is too complex, or that newer technologies are needed. But as this Series shows, there is not reason not to use existing interventions that do work or can stop the epidemic. Despite the evidence, there is a gap between data and implementation. The policy and implementation frameworks that have been adopted in the past decades have just not worked,' said Pam Das, Senior Executive Editor for the Lancet and a key author in this series.