Implementing tuberculosis diagnostics: A policy framework
WHO’s global strategy for TB prevention, care and control for 2015–2035 (known as the End TB Strategy) prioritizes the early diagnosis of TB, which should include the universal availability of DST, and systematic screening of contacts and high-risk groups. Therefore, all national TB control programmes should prioritize the development of a robust network of TB laboratories that have adequate biosafety standards, use modern methods of diagnosis, use standard operating procedures (SOPs) and appropriate quality assurance processes, and that have qualified and sufficient human resources; these priorities should be comprehensively addressed in national strategic plans.
On 27th April 2015, the Global TB Programme, World Health Organization launched its Policy Framework for implementing tuberculosis diagnostics which presents a structured framework for introducing WHO’s recommended diagnostic techniques for TB. It is expected that countries will adapt this generic policy framework within the contexts of their own epidemiological situation and resources. No single policy framework can address all issues in detail due to the diversity of resources and needs in different countries, and geographical variation in the epidemiology of TB, HIV-associated TB and drug-resistant TB.
Therefore, this document aims at providing a generic framework or template for implementing TB diagnostics; it encompasses the managerial, technical and operational processes required for developing and implementing a national strategy for TB laboratories to ensure the early diagnosis of TB and universal access to DST, as well as to ensure there is systematic screening of contacts of people with TB and high-risk groups.