Drug-resistant tuberculosis in Eastern Europe: challenges and ways forward

C D Acosta, A Dadu, A Ramsay, M Dara

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Encouragingly, global rates of new tuberculosis (TB) cases have been falling since 2005, in line with the Millennium Development Goal targets; however, cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR-) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) have been increasing. Fifteen of the world's 27 high MDR- and XDR-TB burden countries are in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region, of which 10 are in Eastern Europe (including Baltic and Caucasus countries). To address the MDR- and XDR-TB situation in the WHO European Region, a Consolidated Action Plan to Prevent and Combat M/XDR-TB (2011-2015) was developed for all 53 Member States and implemented in 2011. Since the implementation of the Action Plan, the proportion of MDR-TB appears largely to have levelled off among bacteriologically confirmed TB cases in high-burden countries with universal or near universal (>95%) first-line drug susceptibility testing (DST). The treatment success rate, however, continues to decrease. A contributing factor is the substantial proportion of MDR-TB cases that are additionally resistant to either a fluoroquinolone, a second-line injectable agent or both (XDR-TB); high-burden country proportions range from 12.6% to 80.4%. Proportions of XDR-TB range from 5% to 24.8%. Despite much progress in Eastern Europe, critical challenges remain as regards access to appropriate treatment regimens; patient hospitalisation; scale-up of laboratory capacity, including the use of rapid diagnostics and second-line DST; vulnerable populations; human resources; and financing. Solutions to these challenges are aligned with the Post-2015 Global TB strategy. As a first step, the global strategy should be adapted at regional and country levels to serve as a framework for immediate actions as well as longer-term ways forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S3-S12
JournalPublic health action
Issue numberSuppl 2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2014


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