The world health organization launches new stop TB strategy in the Lancet

EMBARGO: 00:01H (London Time) Friday March 17, 2006. In North America the embargo lifts at 18:30H ET Thursday March 16, 2006.

Details of the World Health Organization's (WHO) new global strategy to tackle tuberculosis (TB) are published as part of a special TB Essay Focus in this week's issue of The Lancet.

There are around 8.8 million new cases of TB per year. DOTS (directly-observed treatment short-courses)--the current WHO recommended TB control strategy--has contributed to the successful treatment of nearly 22 million patients worldwide over the last decade. However, global statistics suggest that DOTS alone is not sufficient to achieve the 2015 targets set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and Stop TB Partnership.

The new strategy therefore builds on, and goes beyond, DOTS, and provides the basis and the context to the recently launched second Global Plan to Stop TB: 2006-2015. The strategy has six components, which include addressing the spread of TB and HIV co-infections and multi-drug resistant TB.

"With a strategy and related plan, the framework to succeed is in place. However, the financing gap of 30 billion dollars requires substantial increases in domestic and international commitment," states Dr Mario Raviglione (Director, Stop TB Department, WHO). "Focussing on endemic countries, WHO and all Stop TB partners will intensify their efforts to help achieve the 2015 Partnership's targets and step towards eliminating this ancient scourge of humanity," he adds.

The launch of the strategy in The Lancet is accompanied by a series of short essays written by experts from around the world and comes just ahead of World TB Day on March 24.

In a Comment to introduce the essays, Professor Alimuddin Zumla (Director, Centre for Infectious Diseases and International Health, University College London) and Zoe Mullan (Senior Editor, The Lancet), state: "The tuberculosis fraternity has unified in stating its strategy. Now it is up to developing country governments to fully commit resources to tuberculosis control, and for donors to provide catalytic financial aid. Indeed, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already pledged US $900 million by 2015. European governments and funding agencies should follow suit."

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Contact: The Lancet press office +44 (0) 207 424 4949/4249 pressoffice@lancet.com

Notes to editors
A press conference to launch the strategy is taking place on Thursday March 16 at 10:30am at The Lancet's London offices. For more details contact Glenn Thomas, Communications Officer, WHO Stop TB T) +41 79 509 0677 (mobile) thomasg@who.int or Udani Samarasekera, Press Officer, The Lancet T) +44 (0) 207 424 4949 or +44 (0) 7798 882 308 (mobile) pressoffice@lancet.com


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