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The world needs new strategy against tuberculosis

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Staff writer ▼ | October 27, 2015
The world needs to change its approach to fighting tuberculosis, say researchers in a new paper published in The Lancet.
Tuberculosis   We are going to see worse epidemics
We are going to see worse epidemics and more drug resistance unless there is less reliance on biomedical solutions and a greater emphasis on social action, they urge.

Senior author Rifat Atun, professor of global health systems, says that despite increased funding, progress on eliminating TB has been "woefully slow," and:

"We strongly argue that more of the same will not stop tuberculosis. The time has come for comprehensive actions to confront the root causes of tuberculosis, which lie in poverty and deprivation."

In their paper, he and his colleagues call for a "biosocial" approach that includes programs to tackle nutrition, urban planning, addiction recovery, occupational health and mental health services in the fight to eliminate TB.

Although TB deaths have fallen by 45% between 1990 and 2013 - thanks to improved diagnosis and treatment - the disease still kills over 1.5 million people a year, according to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Also, drug-resistant strains are increasing. Estimates suggest over 480,000 people developed multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in 2013.