Health Ministers Accelerate Goals to Diagnose and Treat Drug-Resistant TB

After last week’s World Health Organization (WHO)-sponsored meeting, health ministers from countries with a high disease burden of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) committed towards accelerated goals for the detection, prevention, and treatment of MDR- and XDR-TB. 

The governments present issued a Call for Action asserting that all countries would take action to meet the following goals:

  • universal access to M/XDR-TB diagnosis and treatment by 2015;
  • removal of financial barriers to TB care;
  • development of a comprehensive M/XDR-TB management and care framework;
  • sufficient staff are trained and deployed;
  • strengthen laboratory systems;
  • collaboration with all partners;
  • development and implementation of airborne infection control policies;
  • sufficient supply of high-quality anti-TB drugs;
  • strengthen mechanisms to ensure availability of TB medicines is regulated;
  • develop the new tools needed to combat M/XDR-TB.

The Call for Action is a major step in coordinating plans for M/XDR-TB prevention, treatment and care and a commitment to achieve universal access to diagnosis and treatment for MDR-TB patients by 2015.

Learn more facts about MDR-TB and XDR-TB after the jump.

From the WHO:

Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is defined as resistance to the two most powerful first-line anti-TB drugs (isoniazid and rifampicin). Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) is defined as MDR-TB plus resistance to the most powerful second-line anti-TB drugs (any fluoroquinolone and any of the three injectable drugs: amikacin, capreomycin and kanamycin). MDR-TB and XDR-TB together are defined as M/XDR-TB.

There are 27 countries with a high burden of M/XDR-TB: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bulgaria, China, DR Congo, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Rep of Moldova, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Russian Federation, Pakistan, South Africa, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam.

China, India, the Russian Federation and South Africa account for 60% of the global number of MDR-TB cases and have increased their financing for TB control.

An estimated US$ 15 billion is needed to finance the TB and M/XDR-TB response from both domestic and international resources through to 2015.

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