WHO’s 2023 Roadmap to End Maternal Tuberculosis
In its revised 2023 roadmap to combat tuberculosis (TB) among children and adolescents, the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes the importance of periodic assessments to estimate the burden of maternal TB and develop targeted interventions.
Key Points of the Roadmap
- Data Gap in Maternal TB: The WHO highlights that data on pregnant and post-partum women affected by TB are not collected and reported as part of routine surveillance by national TB programs. Consequently, the burden and characteristics of TB in this vulnerable population and their infants remain largely unknown.
- Safety Studies for New TB Drugs and Vaccines: The WHO stresses the need to include maternal, pregnancy, birth, and infant outcomes in dedicated safety studies for all new TB drugs and vaccines. This step is crucial before the completion of phase III trials to facilitate their inclusion in regulatory submissions.
- Operational Research and Data Collection: Rigorous operational research and data collection in global registries will enable the systematic and rapid detection of uncommon adverse maternal, pregnancy, and birth outcomes, including birth defects.
- Commitments and Targets: At the second United Nations High-Level Meeting on the fight against TB in September 2023, commitments were redefined with a 2027 timeline. Key targets include diagnosing and treating 90% of people living with TB, providing preventive treatment to those at high risk, and treating children and adolescents with TB.
- Roadmap Update: The 2023 roadmap is an update to the 2013 and 2018 goals outlined. The previous target to provide treatment to 3.5 million children and young adolescents was not achieved, with only 71% of the target met.
- Gaps in Access to Treatment: Between 2018 and 2022, only 19% of the target to provide treatment for 115,000 children and young adolescents with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) was met, leaving four in five affected children without access to treatment.
- TB Deaths in Children: The report highlights that of the 1.3 million TB deaths in 2022, 214,000 were children aged 14 and below. Shockingly, 96% of these deaths occurred in children who did not access TB treatment.
- Key Priorities: The roadmap includes ten key priorities for action, including increasing funding for TB prevention and care for children and adolescents, implementing social protection programs, strengthening advocacy efforts, improving data collection, and supporting TB research and innovation focused on children, adolescents, pregnant, and postpartum women.
Category: International / World Current Affairs