National policy reforms are the first step toward achieving the UN High-Level Meeting on TB and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets. With science delivering hope in the form of new diagnostics and treatments for people affected by TB, these policies must be updated rapidly and consistently to keep pace.
The Step Up for TB 2020 report by the Stop TB Partnership and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) summarises findings from the 4th survey of national TB policies in the Step Up for TB series. This edition presents data on 37 high-burden countries (representing 77% of the global estimated TB incident cases), assessing the extent to which national policies align with international best practices based on WHO guidelines and the latest scientific research. It also reports on some of the barriers to policy adoption and implementation identified by governments and offers an insight into the ambitions of governments around the world regarding the care they aim to provide.
The results are clear. Survey findings of key diagnosis, treatment, prevention and medicines procurement policies show that too few countries are consistently stepping up to update national policies in a timely manner following the issuance of new WHO guidelines and recommendations. As a result, the products of innovation take far too many years to reach the people who need them, minimising their impact and undermining the delivery of global commitments to reduce unnecessary sickness, deaths and spread of TB.