Urgent need to address the slow scale-up of TB preventivetreatment in the WHO South-East Asia Region

Publication Year 13 Jun 2023

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In September 2018, all countries made a commitment at the first ever United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB, to provide TB preventive treatment (TPT) to at least 30 million people at high-risk of TB disease between 2018 and 2022. In theWHOSouth-East Asia Region (SEA Region), which accounts for 44% of the global TB burden, only 1.2 million high-risk individuals (household contacts and people living with HIV) were provided TPT (11% of the 10.8 million regional UNHLM TPT target) in 2018 and 2019. By 2020, almost all 11 countries of the SEA Region had revised their policies on TPT target groups and criteria to assess TPT eligibility, and had adopted at least one shorter TPT regimen recommended in the latest WHO TPT guidelines. The major challenges for TPT scale-up in the SEA Region are resource shortages, knowledge and service delivery/uptake gaps among providers and service recipients, and the lack of adequate quantities of rifapentine for use in shorter TPT regimens. There are several regional opportunities to address these gaps and countries of the SEA Region must make use of these opportunities to scale up TPT services rapidly to reduce the TB burden in the SEA Region.