Harvard researchers promote new strategy to fight TB

New strategy needed to eliminate TB
New strategy needed to eliminate TB | Courtesy of
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers recently reported that there must be a major change in how the health community fights tuberculosis (TB) or else drug resistance and epidemic rates will only worsen.

Relying on biomedical solutions as in past decades will not work, said the researchers who encourage an alternative: combining biomedical interventions and social actions. 

"Despite increased funding for tuberculosis programs over the past 15 years, progress has been woefully slow," Rifat Atun, senior author and professor of global health systems, said. "We strongly argue that more of the same will not stop tuberculosis. The time has come for comprehensive actions to confront the root causes of tuberculosis, which lie in poverty and deprivation."

The researchers published a study in which they urged the health community to adopt a “biosocial” approach. This method would integrate urban planning, nutrition, addiction recovery, occupational health, and mental health services into a single approach to fighting TB.

"A biosocial approach to stopping tuberculosis will not only reduce morbidity and mortality from disease but would also alleviate poverty and help sustainable development," Atun said. "It will meet present needs for the poor and provide them and subsequent generations with an opportunity for a better future."

Further details are available online in The Lancet.

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Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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