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Experts’ New Plan for Eradicating Tuberculosis

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In a new study published in The Lancet, experts introduced an all-encompassing approach to achieving the Zero TB Declaration, which urges the rapid eradication of tuberculosis (TB).

The study was prompted by Salmaan Keshavjee, Director of Harvard Centre for Global Health Delivery, and co-edited by Soumya Swaminathan, Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Currently, the strategy for treating TB is to target those in serious condition; the study done by Keshavjee and Swaminathan states that early detection is crucial to eradicating tuberculosis.

They suggest finding individuals infected with TB before they can transmit and thoroughly treat them for all strains of TB. It is also important to treat individuals in close contact and at high risk.

“The drivers of TB include poverty, poor housing, under- nutrition and HIV infection, underscoring the need to address this problem holistically,” Swaminathan said.

The study also draws attention to the importance of focusing on middle and low-income settings, as poverty and malnutrition make people vulnerable to airborne diseases. In addition to stopping transmission, the study suggests addressing “the social mechanisms that fuel tuberculosis.”

The World Health Organization’s End TB Strategy also supports the prevention aspect of the Swaminathan and Keshavjee study. The End TB Strategy also aims to treat those in close contact and high-risk individuals through collaborative tuberculosis/HIV activities.

Swaminathan stated: “We have to hit this bug hard and hit it quickly. Cutting transmission in the community is key to the control of any infectious disease. Many cities in the world are seeing worrying increases in transmission of drug-resistant tuberculosis. All of us are vulnerable and, therefore, we must all act.”

Marie Helene Ngom

Sources: Zeenews, TheLancet, WHO
Photo: United Nations