THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

WHO unveils new TB elimination framework

The World Health Organization and the European Respiratory Society presented a new framework on Thursday to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) in countries with low levels of the disease.

The goal of the program is to bring TB levels in those countries down to less than 1 case per million people per year by 2050, with a "pre-elimination" phase aiming to achieve less than 10 TB cases per million by 2035.

"Low TB-burden countries already have the means to drive down TB cases dramatically by 2035," Hiroki Nakatani, the WHO assistant director-general, said. "Universal health coverage, which ensures everyone has access to the health services they need without suffering financial hardship as a result, is the bedrock. The key is to target smart TB interventions towards the people who need them most."

There are 33 countries and territories worldwide where there are less than 100 TB cases per million people. Seven are from the Americas, three from the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean region and two from the WHO's Western Pacific Region. Twenty-one countries are in Europe.

Although TB is preventable and curable, approximately 155,000 people in the 33 low TB-burden countries still contract the disease every year, and approximately 10,000 of them die.