Findings of our national TB strategy survey published in ERJ

The findings of our survey to looking into the national TB strategies of EU/EEA countries have been published in the European Respiratory Journal.

The survey, conducted by E-DETECT TB partner Public Health England (PHE), involved all 31 countries in the European Union and European Economic Area.  PHE successfully engaged each country’s national TB programme lead to complete a detailed questionnaire.  The survey sought to establish how many EU and EEA countries have national TB control plans/strategies, what their priority actions/populations are and to identify any barriers to implementation.

The response rate was 100% (31 countries).  55% of countries reported having a national TB strategy, all of which were in implementation; five were preparing a strategy.  74% have a defined organisational TB control structure with central coordination, and 19% have a costed programme budget; few organisational structures included patient/civil society representation.

The most frequently mentioned priority TB control actions were: reaching vulnerable population groups (80%); screening for active TB in high-risk groups (63%); implementing electronic registries (60%); contact tracing and outbreak investigation (60%); and tackling MDR-TB (60%).  Undocumented migrants were the most commonly (46%) identified priority population.

Perceived obstacles to implementation included barriers related to care recipients (lack of TB knowledge, treatment seeking/adherence), care providers (including need for specialist training of nurses and doctors) and health system constraints (funding, communication between health and social care systems).

Now that this information has been gathered and analysed, our next steps are as follows:

  1. Expert stakeholder meeting, Leiden, 24th October
  2. Development of a TB strategy toolkit for EU/EEA member states

Further details will follow as outcomes from the above are finalised, but, if you’d like to find out more, please contact Fatima Wurie at PHE, or you can read the full paper, “Tuberculosis in the European Union and European Economic Area: a survey of national tuberculosis programmes”, on the ERJ website.

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