Noting the release of the WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2012 this week, this Lancet editorial says the results show "good and bad news." The editorial says, "The number of tuberculosis cases and deaths continues to fall ... and overall, the world is on track to achieve the global target of a 50 percent reduction by 2015." However, "with an estimated 8.7 million new cases (of which 13 percent represent co-infections with HIV) and 1.4 million deaths from tuberculosis in 2011," the "global burden of tuberculosis remains huge," the editorial states. The report also shows "alarming levels of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis," the editorial notes.
"Overall, the approach to tuberculosis control is not returning the kind of impact the world should expect to see," the Lancet states, adding, "Insufficient attention and funding over several decades have allowed the global epidemic to remain a deep scar on the reputation of global health. And looking ahead, the report warns the situation could worsen and the gains be reversed if the substantial funding gap is not filled." The editorial continues, "It is time to re-examine the current tuberculosis control approach" because "[t]he status quo is unacceptable." The Lancet recommends U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon initiate a Global Commission on Tuberculosis Elimination to "be led by a person independent of the tuberculosis community and it needs to work to a tight timeline." The editorial concludes, "We suggest a final report, with recommendations about a fresh strategic approach, be submitted by September 2013, in time for discussions about the post-2015 development agenda" (10/20).