Publication Year 28 Aug 2023

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The World Health Organization (WHO) End TB Strategy is fully aligned with the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Both require due attention to equity, human rights and ethics. In fact, “protecting human rights, ethics and equity” is one of the four key principles of the WHO End TB Strategy. The SDG agenda itself is inspired by a simple motto: “Leave no one behind”. Ensuring that these essential principles guide the implementation of the End TB Strategy is a must, especially when tuberculosis (TB) is rampant among the most vulnerable and marginalized populations everywhere in the world.
Applying these principles in the field is not always easy, as patients, communities, health workers, and other TB stakeholders face conflicts and even ethical dilemmas when implementing the Strategy. This guidance aims at addressing that very challenge, and represents the work of people and experts belonging to many constituencies: from national TB programmes to civil society, affected individuals and communities as well as experts in public health, ethics, health law and human rights. We are grateful for their essential contributions and for their engagement in supporting the development of this document. We hope that there is rapid and wide uptake of this guidance, which is designed to help ensure that the implementation of the End TB Strategy is in line with sound ethical standards.
In this new millennium, it is widely recognized that science and ethics need to work together very closely to guide our action. Only when evidence-based, effective interventions are informed by a sound ethical framework, and respect and protect human rights, will we be successful in reaching our ambitious goals of ending the TB epidemic and the associated human suffering, “leaving no one behind”.