Author(s): Mori T
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Abstract The strategy of directly observed treatment, short course (DOTS) is achieving substantial progress in coverage and quality improvements worldwide. However, the problem of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) has emerged as a new challenge to TB control in both developing and industrialized countries. The effort of various countries of the Pacific Rim to fight this problem, one of the negative progenies from the 20th century, was a major theme of the conference. Asia, WHO's Southwest Asia and Western Pacific Regions, combined, account globally for almost 60\% of the newly occurring MDR-TB cases. However, the problem has likely been overlooked, as it was masked by taking averages for countries or wider regions. In this way, we may have lost sight of "hot zones" with extremely high prevalence of MDR-TB in smaller areas or in population segments. The problem was basically a result of the low-quality treatment program, but recently it may be amplified in some areas by the HIV epidemic that is another new challenge to TB strategies. So far, developing countries have not been taking active measures to manage this problem. However, some countries, such as the Philippines and Peru, have undertaken aggressive efforts, supported technically and financially by the new international mechanisms, such as the Stop TB Partnership and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. These efforts would be more effective if there were further technical innovation in diagnosis and treatment, supported by a strong political commitment.
This article was published in Tuberculosis (Edinb)
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access