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Acting on the World Health Organization's new global strategy for tackling tuberculosis (TB) will result in major gains worldwide, argues Mario C. Raviglione in this editorial from the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO).

TB control is a high health priority for development, as the disease's burden is disproportionately high in disadvantaged populations with poor access to health care.

But the recent increase in TB associated with HIV infection — especially in sub-Saharan Africa — as well as the emergence of drug-resistant strains of the disease, require far greater resources to coordinate and improve control programmes.

Larger investments are also vital to bolster research and development of much needed drugs, diagnostic tools and vaccines.

Two new WHO plans take into account the changing realities of TB control and research, argues Raviglione. They outline the steps needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halting and reversing global incidence of TB by 2015.

Full implementation of these plans would also reduce TB prevalence and mortality to half the 1990 levels, says the author.

But, he adds, future generations will only be spared the burden of TB if governments and donors mobilise the necessary resources.

Link to full article in Bulletin of the World Health Organization [67KB]

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