Meeting of the Implementation Core Group of WHO Global Task Force on Latent TB Infection and country stakeholders on implementation tools and joint TB and HIV programming to scale up TB preventive treatment
In March 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) published updated and consolidated guidelines for programmatic management of latent tuberculosis (TB) infection (LTBI).
These guidelines recommend expansion of TB preventive treatment services beyond the target populations of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and child household contacts of TB patients, to all household contacts in high TB burden countries. They also recommend shorter preventive treatment regimens and testing options for LTBI. These recommendations complement the Political Declaration from the first ever United Nations (UN) High Level Meeting (HLM) on TB on 26 September 2018, where Member States committed to provide TB preventive treatment to at least 30 million individuals by 2022. However, in 2017, fewer than one million PLHIV (36%) and about 250 000 household contacts of TB patients (23%) received TB preventive treatment in reporting countries.
Achievement of the UN HLM targets will require rapid adoption of the 2018 WHO guidelines, substantially increased funding and human resources, and nationwide coverage of TB preventive treatment services. To catalyse country efforts, WHO convened a meeting of the implementation Core Group of the Global LTBI Task Force and country stakeholders to review implementation tools and TB and HIV programming needs to achieve the UN HLM targets. The meeting was held on 14–16 November 2018 in Geneva, as part of the Global consultation on transition towards new and better treatments of drug resistant TB and latent TB infection. The meeting brought together select members of the Global LTBI Task Force, and national programme managers and focal persons from 11 countries: Brazil, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
The overall objective of the meeting was to deliberate on key strategies to achieve the UN HLM target. The specific objective was to review and garner input on the draft WHO operational guidance for programmatic management of LTBI, indicators for monitoring and evaluation, and key elements for TB and HIV programming for scale-up of TB preventive treatment services in high burden countries in line with WHO recommendations in the 2018 guidelines. This report summarizes the key deliberations and specific meeting outcomes.