Financing tuberculosis control: promising trends and remaining challenges

The Lancet Global Health
Aug 2013  Volume 1  Number 2  e55 – 115

Financing tuberculosis control: promising trends and remaining challenges
Anna Vassall, Michelle Remme
The financing of essential health services for the world’s poor is changing. Development assistance to health (DAH) seems to be flat-lining, and use of domestic resources and value for money are increasingly emphasised.1,2 Many development agencies are re-examining thematic and geographic priorities and implementing new cofinancing agreements. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for example, now requires 5–60% counterpart financing, depending on a country’s income.3 Ensuring that scarce development funds flow at a sufficient scale to effective interventions that serve people who need them most remains a challenge.

Domestic and donor financing for tuberculosis care and control in low-income and middle-income countries: an analysis of trends, 2002—11, and requirements to meet 2015 targets
Dr Katherine Floyd PhD a , Christopher Fitzpatrick MSc a, Andrea Pantoja MSc a, Mario Raviglione MD a

Progress in tuberculosis control worldwide, including achievement of 2015 global targets, requires adequate financing sustained for many years. WHO began yearly monitoring of tuberculosis funding in 2002. We used data reported to WHO to analyse tuberculosis funding from governments and international donors (in real terms, constant 2011 US$) and associated progress in tuberculosis control in low-income and middle-income countries between 2002 and 2011. We then assessed funding needed to 2015 and how this funding could be mobilised.

We included low-income and middle-income countries that reported data about financing for tuberculosis to WHO and had at least three observations between 2002 and 2011. When data were missing for specific country—year combinations, we imputed the missing data. We aggregated country-specific results for eight country groups defined according to income level, political and economic profile, geography, and tuberculosis burden. We compared absolute changes in total funding with those in the total number of patients successfully treated and did cross-country comparisons of cost per successfully treated patient relative to gross domestic product. We estimated funding needs for tuberculosis care and control for all low-income and middle-income countries to 2015, and compared these needs with domestic funding that could be mobilised.

Total funding grew from $1.7 billion in 2002 to $4·4 billion in 2011. It was mostly spent on diagnosis and treatment of drug-susceptible tuberculosis. 43 million patients were successfully treated, usually for $100—500 per person in countries with high burdens of tuberculosis. Domestic funding rose from $1.5 billion to $3.9 billion per year, mostly in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS), which collectively account for 45% of global cases, where national contributions accounted for more than 95% of yearly funding. Donor funding increased from $0.2 billion in 2002 to $0.5 billion in 2011, and accounted for a mean of 39% of funding in the 17 countries with the highest burdens (excluding BRICS) and a mean of 67% in low-income countries by 2011. BRICS and upper middle-income countries could mobilise almost all of their funding needs to 2015 from domestic sources. A full response to the tuberculosis epidemic to 2015, including investments to tackle multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, will require international donor funding of $1.6—2.3 billion each year.

Funding for tuberculosis control increased substantially between 2002 and 2011, resulting in impressive and cost-effective gains. The increasing self-sufficiency of many countries, including BRICS, which account for almost half the world’s tuberculosis cases, is a success story for control of tuberculosis. Nonetheless, international donor funding remains crucial in many countries and more is needed to achieve 2015 targets.