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The road to ending tuberculosis

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health


Source: TH

Context: The existing target of ending tuberculosis (TB) by 2030 lacks implementation and clarity about definitions of “end”.



  • In 1993, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared TB a global health emergency.
  • Founded in 2001, the Stop TB Partnership (a UN-hosted organisation) takes bold and smart risks to serve the needs and amplify the voices of the people, communities, and countries affected by TB.
    • The Stop TB board meets in Varanasi, India, and will coincide with World TB Day 2023 (March 24).
  • The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (2002) began disbursing money directed towards the global TB epidemic in 2003.


Current obstacles in the global fight against TB:

  • The response has been short on urgency and long on processes.
  • For example, The Global Fund remains hostage to the zero-sum games imposed by donors and the champions of the three diseases.


Key areas that remain under-served:

  • Development and wide use of an adult TB vaccine: The current vaccine is delivered at birth.
  • Getting newer therapeutic agents for TB.
    • Moving to an injection-free and shorter all-oral pills regimen for TB (the current standard is for at least six months) will improve compliance and reduce patient fatigue.
  • The space of diagnostics. There are exciting developments for use of AI-assisted handheld radiology with 90-second reporting and 95% plus accuracy for diagnosing TB.
    • This is a mature technology and should be rolled out universally immediately.


Best practices:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine development process shows what can be done with the help of collective will and action.
  • India convened the InDx diagnostics coalition in Bengaluru for COVID-19.
  • TN-KET (Tamil Nadu Kasanoi Erappila Thittam/TB death-free project)



Way ahead:

  • Using social safety programmes to address the poverty drivers of the TB epidemic.
  • Leveraging the mobile and computational data revolution to improve treatment outcomes.



  • India’s leadership of the G20 and the focus on health could be catalytic, in the same manner, that the Japanese G7 presidency in 2001 was for the creation of the Global Fund.
  • Providing historical symmetry, Japan leads the G7 in 2023, providing leaders of both nations and groupings to act synergistically towards ending TB.

Insta Links:

Tuberculosis in India: Road to Elimination