The World Health Organization issues a Rapid Communication announcing a number of updates to its latest guidance on TB preventive treatment.
27 February 2020 | GENEVA: In a Rapid Communication issued today, the World Health Organization (WHO) is announcing a number of updates to its latest guidance on tuberculosis (TB) preventive treatment. These changes are expected to enhance the scale-up of preventive treatment worldwide in line with the vision of the WHO End TB Strategy and the UN High-Level Meeting in 2018. The release of this Rapid Communication at this juncture is important to inform countries as many of them are in the process of developing national TB strategic plans and related funding proposals for donors like the Global Fund.
An estimated one-fourth of the world’s population is infected with the TB bacterium, of whom about 5-10% advance to active TB disease in their lifetime. TB preventive treatment, when given to people at the highest risk of progressing from TB infection to disease, remains a critical intervention to benefit individuals and communities alike. Globally, preventive treatment of people at risk, particularly contacts of TB patients, remains low. Unless this is stepped up rapidly, the global target of reaching at least 30 million people with TB preventive treatment by 2022 will not be reached.
“TB preventive treatment is an important cornerstone of the End TB Strategy. Ensuring that everyone can obtain the treatment they need, to prevent TB infection from developing into active TB disease, will save lives and reduce suffering.” said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme. “Along with the new guidelines, WHO will release other tools to strengthen uptake and implementation of the latest recommendations. We request continued commitment and stakeholder support to rapidly scale up access to preventive treatment for the millions in need.”