Ending TB in South-East Asia: flagship priority and response transformation

Lancet Reg Health Southeast Asia. 2023 Oct 29:18:100301. doi: 10.1016/j.lansea.2023.100301. eCollection 2023 Nov.


Over the decades, the global tuberculosis (TB) response has evolved from sanatoria-based treatment to DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy Shortcourse) strategy and the more recent End TB Strategy. The WHO South-East Asia Region, which accounted for 45% of new TB patients and 50% of deaths globally in 2021, is pivotal to the global fight against TB. "Accelerate Efforts to End TB" by 2030 was adopted as a South-East Asia Regional Flagship Priority (RFP) in 2017. This article illustrates intensified and transformed approaches to address the disease burden following the adoption of RFP and new challenges that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. TB case notifications improved by 25% and treatment success rates improved by 6% between 2016 and 2019 due to interventions ranging from galvanising political commitments to empowering and engaging communities. Cumulative TB programme budget allocations in 2022 reached US$ 1.4 billion, about two and a half times the budget in 2016. An ambitious Regional Strategic Plan towards ending TB, 2021-2025, identifies priority interventions that will need investments of up to US$ 3 billion a year to fully implement them. Moving forward, countries in the Region need to leverage RFP and take up intensified, people-centred, holistic interventions for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of TB with commensurate investments and cross-ministerial and multi-sectoral coordination.

Keywords: Flagship; South-East Asia; Tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Review