Data for action: collection and use of local data to end tuberculosis
27 October 2015
UCL-TB director, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, author of paper published in The Lancet.
Accelerating progress in the fight against tuberculosis will require a drastic shift from a strategy focused on control to one focused on elimination. Successful disease elimination campaigns are characterised by locally tailored responses that are informed by appropriate data. To develop such a response to tuberculosis, we suggest a three-step process that includes improved collection and use of existing programmatic data, collection of additional data (eg, geographic information, drug resistance, and risk factors) to inform tailored responses, and targeted collection of novel data (eg, sequencing data, targeted surveys, and contact investigations) to improve understanding of tuberculosis transmission dynamics. Development of a locally targeted response for tuberculosis will require substantial investment to reconfigure existing systems, coupled with additional empirical data to evaluate the effectiveness of specific approaches. Without adoption of an elimination strategy that uses local data to target hotspots of transmission, ambitious targets to end tuberculosis will almost certainly remain unmet.