WHO: Global Tuberculosis Report 2012

Report: Global Tuberculosis Report 2012
Source: WHO
October 2012

Key findings
Progress towards global targets for reductions in TB cases and deaths continues. The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to halt and reverse the TB epidemic by 2015 has already been achieved. New cases of TB have been falling for several years and fell at a rate of 2.2% between 2010 and 2011. The TB mortality rate has decreased 41% since 1990 and the world is on track to achieve the global target of a 50% reduction by 2015. Mortality and incidence rates are also falling in all of WHO’s six regions and in most of the 22 high-burden countries that account for over 80% of the world’s TB cases. At country level, Cambodia demonstrates what can be achieved in a low-income and high-burden country: new data show a 45% decrease in TB prevalence since 2002.

However, the global burden of TB remains enormous. In 2011, there were an estimated 8.7 million new cases of TB (13% co-infected with HIV) and 1.4 million people died from TB, including almost one million deaths among HIV-negative individuals and 430 000 among people who were HIV-positive. TB is one of the top killers of women, with 300 000 deaths among HIV-negative women and 200 000 deaths among HIV-positive women in 2011. Global progress also conceals regional variations: the African and European regions are not on track to halve 1990 levels of mortality by 2015.

Access to TB care has expanded substantially since the mid-1990s, when WHO launched a new global TB strategy and began systematically monitoring progress. Between 1995 and 2011, 51 million people were successfully treated for TB in countries that had adopted the WHO strategy, saving 20 million lives.

Progress in responding to multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains slow. While the number of cases of MDR-TB notified in the 27 high MDR-TB burden countries is increasing and reached almost 60,000 worldwide in 2011, this is only one in five (19%) of the notified TB patients estimated to have MDR-TB. In the two countries with the largest number of cases, India and China, the figure is less than one in ten; scale-up is expected in these countries in the next three years.

There has been further progress in implementing collaborative TB/HIV activities (first recommended by WHO in 2004). These saved an estimated 1.3 million lives between 2005 and the end of 2011. In 2011, 69% of TB patients were tested for HIV in the African Region, up from 3% in 2004. Globally, 48% of the TB patients known to be living with HIV in 2011 were started on antiretroviral therapy (ART); coverage needs to double to meet WHO’s recommendation that all TB patients living with HIV are promptly started on ART. Kenya and Rwanda are top performers in HIV testing and provision of ART.

Innovations in diagnostics are being implemented. The roll-out of Xpert MTB/RIF, a rapid molecular test that can diagnose TB and rifampicin resistance within 100 minutes, has been impressive. Between its endorsement by WHO in December 2010 and the end of June 2012, 1.1 million tests had been purchased by 67 low- and middle-income countries; South Africa (37% of purchased tests) is the leading adopter. A 41% price reduction (from US$ 16.86 to US$ 9.98) in August 2012 should accelerate uptake.

The development of new drugs and new vaccines is also progressing. New or re-purposed TB drugs and novel TB regimens to treat drug-sensitive or drug-resistant TB are advancing in clinical trials and regulatory review. Eleven vaccines to prevent TB are moving through development stages.

There are critical funding gaps for TB care and control. Between 2013 and 2015 up to US$ 8 billion per year is needed in low- and middle-income countries, with a funding gap of up to US$ 3 billion per year. International donor funding is especially critical to sustain recent gains and make further progress in 35 low-income countries (25 in Africa), where donors provide more than 60% of current funding.

There are also critical funding gaps for research and development. US$ 2 billion per year is needed; the funding gap was US$ 1.4 billion in 2010…