Universal access to care for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: an analysis of surveillance data

Lancet Infect Dis. 2013 Aug;13(8):690-7. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70130-0. Epub 2013 Jun 4.


Background: The prospects for global tuberculosis control in the near future will be determined by the effectiveness of the response of countries to their burden of multidrug-resistant (MDR; resistance to, at least, isoniazid and rifampicin) tuberculosis. During the 2009 World Health Assembly, countries committed to achieve universal access to MDR-tuberculosis care by 2015. We assessed the progress towards the 2015 targets achieved by countries accounting for 90% of the estimated MDR-tuberculosis cases in the world in 2011.

Methods: We analysed data reported to WHO by 30 countries expected to have more than 1000 MDR-tuberculosis cases among notified patients with pulmonary tuberculosis in 2011.

Findings: In the 30 countries, 18% of the estimated MDR-tuberculosis cases were enrolled on treatment in 2011. Belarus, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Peru, South Africa, and Ukraine each detected and enrolled on treatment more than 50% of their estimated cases of MDR-tuberculosis. In Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Russia, enrolments increased steadily between 2009 and 2011 with a mean yearly change greater than 50%: however, in these countries enrolment in 2011 was low, ranging from 4% to 43% of the estimated cases. In the remaining countries (Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mozambique, Burma, Nepal, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, South Korea, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam) progress in detection and enrolment was slower. In 23 countries, a median of 53% (IQR 41-71) patients with MDR-tuberculosis successfully completed their treatment after starting it in 2008-09.

Interpretation: Six countries (Belarus, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Peru, South Africa, and Ukraine) can achieve universal access to MDR-tuberculosis care by 2015 should they sustain their current pace of progress. In other countries a radical scale-up will be needed for them to have an effect on their MDR-tuberculosis burden. Unless barriers to diagnosis and successful treatment are urgently overcome, and new technologies in diagnostics and treatment effectively implemented, the global targets for 2015 are unlikely be achieved.

Funding: WHO.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Antitubercular Agents / supply & distribution
  • Asia, Southeastern
  • Asia, Western
  • Brazil
  • Europe, Eastern
  • Far East
  • Global Health*
  • Goals
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Peru
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / prevention & control


  • Antitubercular Agents