WHO meeting aims to accurately estimate TB’s global impact

June 1, 2022

A successful meeting of a subgroup of WHO’s Global Task Force on TB Impact Measurement was held in Geneva on May 11-12. This important meeting focused on an up-to-date review of methods used by WHO to produce Tuberculosis (TB) disease burden estimates.

The meeting brought together experts in statistics, modelling and epidemiology from academia, government institutions from high TB burden countries, other technical partners and funding bodies.

Two major topics were covered at this 2022 meeting, contributing to one of the Task Force’s strategic areas of work:

1. Methods for producing estimates of TB incidence and mortality in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; and

2. Methods for producing estimates of the incidence of drug-resistant TB, with a focus on estimates of the incidence of rifampicin resistance.

The updated methods will be used to produce estimates of disease burden to be published in WHO’s Global TB Report in October 2022, providing a comprehensive picture of the latest situation and recent trends at national, regional and global levels.

The WHO Global Task Force on TB Impact Measurement was established within WHO’s Global TB Programme (GTB) in 2006, with the TB monitoring, evaluation and strategic information (TME) unit in GTB acting as the secretariat. In the context of WHO’s End TB Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Task Force’s mission is to:

•             Ensure that assessments of progress towards End TB Strategy and SDG targets and milestones at global, regional and country levels are rigorous, robust and consensus-based; and

•             Guide, promote and support the analysis and use of TB surveillance and survey data for policy, planning and programmatic action.

The work of the Task Force focuses on four strategic areas:

1.            Strengthening surveillance – this includes national systems for TB surveillance (for direct measurement of TB incidence) and national vital registration (VR) systems (for direct measurement of the number of deaths caused by TB);

2.            Priority studies to periodically measure TB disease burden –  these include (but are not limited to) national TB prevalence surveys, drug resistance surveys and surveys of costs faced by TB patients and their households;

3.            Periodic review of methods used by WHO to produce estimates of the burden of TB disease; and

4.            Analysis and use of TB surveillance and survey data at country level.

WHO release