In August 2022 the WHO announced new guidance to “support national strategic planning” for tuberculosis (TB) responses. This guidance was described as a culmination of the “latest WHO guidelines” by Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Programme.  

“It highlights the importance of comprehensive and inclusive engagement of relevant stakeholders and partners”.  

This guidance was produced to “better align with global commitments” and recent developments in TB and public health. It updated the 2015 “Toolkit” to provide a “national strategic plan for TB prevention, care, and control.” A national strategic plan (NSP) “guides the national TB response through interventions within and beyond the health sector”. It does this by identifying priorities for health authorities and stakeholders and how these can be coordinated across “various sectors”.  

“The NSP translates global, regional, and national commitments into national and subnational targets and activities to be implemented to achieve these targets and provides the basis for mobilisation of domestic and external resources”.  

The foreword to this guidance states the global intention of reducing TB deaths and incidence by 90% and 80% respectively from 2015 to 2030. Among the means of achieving this are a “commitment to ambitious targets for TB treatment and prevention”.  

Within the guidance is a table of “Pillars, principles and components of the end TB strategy”. This comprises four pillars: 

  1. Government stewardship and accountability, with M&E. 
  2. Strong coalition with civil society organisations and communities. 
  3. Protection and promotion of human rights, ethics, and equity. 
  4. Adaptation of the strategy and targets at country level, with global collaboration. 

The pillars and components are as follows: 

Integrated, patient-centred care and prevention: 
  • Early diagnosis of TB including universal DST and systematic screening of contacts and high-risk groups. 
  • Treatment of all people with TB including drug-resistant TB, and patient support. 
  • Collaborative TB/HIV activities, and management of comorbidities. 
  • Preventative treatment of people at high risk, and vaccination against TB. 
Bold policies and supportive systems: 
  • Political commitment with adequate resources for TB care and prevention. 
  • Engagement of communities, civil society organisations, and public and private care providers. 
  • UHC policy, and regulatory frameworks for case notification, vital registration, quality and rational use of medicines, and infection control. 
  • Social protection, poverty alleviation, and actions on other determinants of TB. 
Intensified research and innovation: 
  • Discovery, development, and rapid uptake of new tools, interventions, and strategies.  
  • Research to optimise implementation and impact and promote innovations.  

Dr Tereza Kasaeva will be speaking at the World Vaccine Congress in Europe in October 2022; get your tickets to the Congress here.