An effective drug supply and management system is one of the elements of the DOTS treatment approach that has saved millions of lives since 1994, WHO says.

8 Million TB Deaths Averted, 36 Million Cured Since 1994

The World Health Organization says millions of people have been aided by the treatment approach developed 15 years ago.

A new report from the World Health Organization says some 36 million people have been cured of tuberculosis and 8 million TB deaths have been prevented through the use of a treatment approach called DOTS that was developed 15 years ago.

DOTS became the main component of the WHO Stop TB Strategy. DOTS has five elements: political commitment with increased and sustained financing, case detection through quality-assured bacteriology, standardized treatment with supervision and patient support, an effective drug supply and management system, and a monitoring and evaluation system and impact measurement.

According to the report released Dec. 8, the most recent year saw 2.3 million people cured and an 87 percent rate for treated patients being cured, the first time the global 85 percent target was exceeded since it was established in 1991. WHO says 53 countries exceeded the goal. "Fifteen years of TB investments are bringing visible results in terms of human lives saved. Together, national programs, WHO, UNAIDS, the Global Fund, and other partners have helped save millions of lives from TB," said Dr. Mario Raviglione, director of WHO's Stop TB Department. "But the current pace of progress is far from sufficient to decisively target our goal of TB elimination."

Too many TB patients still do not receive the care they need, according to WHO, which said 1.8 million people died from TB during 2008, including 500,000 deaths associated with HIV.

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