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A Vision for Zero TB Cities
Despite significant advancements in the areas of TB diagnostics and treatment, TB remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in many low- and middle-income countries. It is no longer argued that poverty and resource deprivation are clear determinants of tuberculosis. While effective diagnostics and treatment regimens are necessary for TB control, the availability of these measures alone is not enough to stop the spread of the disease or to end the TB epidemic. Meeting ambitious End TB strategy targets towards zero TB deaths will require comprehensive, cross-cutting strategies to address both biomedical and social determinants of TB which fuel the spread of TB worldwide. Interventions originating outside the health sector, specifically in social protection and urban planning, hold great potential to strengthen TB control.
URC’s vision to TB-free cities aligns with two Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 3 and SDG 11. SDG 3 aims to end the TB epidemic by 2030 and will require a set of cross-sectoral, integrated approaches. SDG 11 aims to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and will require targets to improve air quality and provide safe housing, both of which are important TB control measures themselves. URC, through its current health and social support programs, works with local governments in aligning actions to achieve the SDGs related to health and cities. These actions include a focus on adopting universal health coverage and creating linked, multifaceted interventions which consider factors linked to physiology, health systems and the environment to create comprehensive, unified view of risk.
The Zero TB Cities initiative was formed in 2014 to address the TB epidemic in cities with high TB prevalence and is supported by the global TB community. This initiative was designed to create a comprehensive platform to combat the economic and social factors related to TB, fight malnutrition, prevent drug and alcohol abuse, and treat mental health problems that can make it challenging for patients to complete treatment regimens that are required to cure TB. URC, through its multitude of TB programs and activities worldwide, works to introduce a model for controlling the TB epidemic through effective environmental, social and biomedical measures in large cities with the highest TB prevalence.