Tuberculosis (TB)

TB emergency declaration

Issued by the WHO Regional Office for Africa

TB patient in Mozambique. The TB Emergency Declaration was announced in Maputo in Mozambique.  Mozambique is one of the nine high TB burden countries in Africa.
WHO/STB/G. Thomas

TB has been declared an emergency in Africa after 46 Ministers of Health unanimously adopted a resolution at the WHO Africa Regional Committee in Maputo, Mozambique, on 25 August 2005.

Recognizing the deep concern about the gravity of the epidemic, the resolution warned that unless "urgent extraordinary actions" are in place, the situation will worsen and the 2015 Millennium Development Goal TB targets will not be met.

There are 1500 TB deaths every day in Africa:

  • TB killed half a million African people last year, mostly young men and women in their most productive years
  • Africa is the only continent where TB rates are increasing
  • In just 15 years, overall rates have doubled; tripled in high HIV areas; and quadrupled in countries worst-affected by HIV and TB

Actions outlined in the TB Emergency Declaration

Member States are urged to:

  • Implement, with immediate effect, emergency TB control strategies and plans
  • Improve TB detection and treatment success rates, and reduce patient default and transfer-out rates to 10% or less
  • Accelerate DOTS coverage
  • Rapidly scale up joint TB and HIV control activities
  • Expand national public and private partnerships for TB control
  • Improve the quantity and quality of the TB health workforce

WHO Regional Director is requested to:

  • Provide intensified technical support to Member States
  • Hasten research on new TB drugs and diagnostics
  • Mobilize additional resources for TB control
  • Report on TB control progress to the Regional Committee every two years

Reaction to the TB Emergency Declaration

The declaration builds on commitments made in 2005 by the African Union and G8 world leaders, as outlined in the Stop TB Partnership's 'Blueprint' for TB control in Africa.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

"I hope that the political leaders in Africa will show their commitment and demonstrate that they have the political will to ensure that TB is going to be combated. If it is an emergency, especially as it is linked with HIV and AIDS, we need all the resources, and all the political will and determination."

Dr Louis G. Sambo, WHO Regional Director, Africa
Dr Louis G. Sambo, WHO Regional Director, Africa:

"I look forward to real collaboration and believe that working together closely, we can scale up interventions for TB control in countries and move faster towards achieving the Abuja and Millennium Development Goal targets. I count on the Stop TB Partnership's support to make this declaration a turning point for TB control efforts in our region."

Dr Mario Raviglione, WHO Director, Stop TB:

"This declaration is a historic step forward for TB control. In endemic countries, it provides a tool to negotiate the seriousness of the disease. In donor countries, it is a rallying cry to mobilize additional resources."

Dr Marcos Espinal, Executive Secretary, Stop TB Partnership:

"The declaration of a TB emergency in Africa is a huge breakthrough for our advocacy efforts, and reflects the unique cooperation between WHO and the Stop TB Partnership in working together to advance the TB agenda. It is something about which we can all feel happy and proud."

Dr Wilfred Nkhoma, WHO Regional TB Adviser, Africa
Dr Wilfred Nkhoma, WHO Regional TB Adviser, Africa:

"TB control must receive the necessary resources so actions can be implemented in the best manner possible. Just as AIDS is being highlighted, TB is also creeping up, and therefore it must receive the same priority."

Ms Lucy Chesire, Kenyan TB activist
Ms Lucy Chesire, Kenyan TB activist:

"The campaign is not over - we are just starting. It is now time for us to see where we are, and what we can do to make a difference to all those patients out there."