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Ahead Of World TB Day, Opinion Pieces Discuss Efforts To End Global Epidemic

Inter Press Service: Ending TB Epidemic Among Youth: Key to Achieving SDGs
David Bryden, TB advocacy officer at RESULTS Educational Fund

“…Tuberculosis (TB) … poses a major risk for young people in countries with high prevalence of TB, and schools are among the places where they are most likely to catch it. … Urgent action is needed … First, active steps must be taken to find and provide person-centered treatment to everyone with active TB disease, including in school settings … Second, … we must rapidly identify anyone who has been in contact with people with active TB and provide a course of preventive antibiotic treatment. … Third, improving ventilation and reducing overcrowding in school settings … is critically important. … Fourth, we must raise TB awareness … Finally, governments must do more to establish adolescent-accessible health services, to meet the special needs of this group, including their vulnerability to TB infection and disease, as well as to other risks such as HIV…” (3/22).

The Lancet: Addressing social determinants to end tuberculosis
Tom Wingfield, clinical lecturer in infectious diseases at the Institute of Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool, and colleagues

“…Despite renewed interest in addressing the social determinants of tuberculosis, there remains a stark global disparity in disease burden and access to care. Low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) bear the highest tuberculosis burden and people with tuberculosis are often vulnerable and impoverished. Conversely, in high-income countries, improvements in living conditions, increased social expenditure per person, and strategies to address the social determinants of health have been associated with decreased tuberculosis prevalence. WHO’s 2015 End TB Strategy acknowledges the need to reduce inequalities in tuberculosis prevention and care, including through provision of social protection and poverty alleviation for households affected by tuberculosis. … To end tuberculosis, medicines must be integrated with socioeconomic interventions that fight poverty” (3/24).

The Lancet: The Lancet Commission on tuberculosis: building a tuberculosis-free world
Eric Goosby, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on tuberculosis and member of the Gilead Health Policy Advisory Board, and colleagues

“…The U.N.’s High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis … represents a unique opportunity to secure a commitment from heads of state and governments for a coordinated global response to end the epidemic. The Lancet Commission on tuberculosis aims to identify decisive global and country-specific actions necessary to ensure the success of that response. These recommendations will address the following priorities. First and foremost, the global community needs to pivot to bold new strategies to address the tremendous burden of disease. … Second, creating an enabling environment is essential to successfully ending tuberculosis. … Third, investing in research and development must be a global priority. … Finally, countries need to dedicate substantial resources to implement strategies to end tuberculosis. … [E]nding tuberculosis is possible with better science, improved health systems, increased and sustainable financing, and renewed political will…” (3/24).

The Hill: Rise in tuberculosis highlights broader global health security concerns
Jennifer Nuzzo and Diane Meyer, faculty at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security​ at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and members of the Outbreak Observatory project team

“Global health leaders are paying close attention to the recent resurgence of tuberculosis (TB) in Venezuela, recognizing that the rise of a deadly infectious disease anywhere in the world is of international concern. Unfortunately, … support among policymakers about the importance of investing globally to prevent infectious diseases is trending in the wrong direction. This outbreak is the latest reminder of the urgent need for governments to boost funding for initiatives that bolster the front lines of epidemic prevention and response. … If countries are not well equipped to control routine infectious diseases, they will likely be unable to adequately contain epidemic threats such as pandemic influenza, Zika, or Ebola. … Efforts to strengthen public health capacities to improve TB control could not only help to decrease the global burden of TB, but also strengthen global health security more broadly…” (3/22).

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